As we begin Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s look at some of the reasons Latinos are so important to U.S. culture and economy.
For decades I traveled the country educating marketers about Latinos. Unless you do this for a living, you might not really know just how huge and powerful Latinos are in this country. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, Latinos accounted for half of the nation’s population growth while the non-Hispanic, white population declined. Let me share 10 of the most important facts you should know about Latinos and Hispanic Heritage Month.
Here are the 10 most important facts:
- Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated each year from September 15 through October 15, recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South American and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture. In September, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Chile celebrate their Independence from Spain.
- Hispanic and Latino are ONLY used in the U.S. The Census Bureau started using the term Hispanic in 1980 to classify people of Spanish or Hispanic origin. In 2000, the Bureau used Hispanic and Latino. Yet, according to Pew Hispanic Center, “51% of Hispanics prefer to use their family’s country of origin to describe their identity.” I am one of those. Depending on who asks, I say Latina or Chilena!
- We’re bigger than EVERY Spanish-Speaking country in the world, except for Mexico. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, there are 62.2 million Latinos living in the U.S. and we are the nation’s largest ethnic segment.
- U.S. births are driving the growth among Hispanics. In the 1990s, immigration fueled 70 percent of the Hispanic population growth. Today, the majority of the growth is driven by U.S. births: the children of immigrants who still identify themselves as Hispanic, Latino or from their family’s country of origin.
- Latino buying power is $1.5 trillion and on the rise according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth. We are obviously an economic powerhouse to be reckoned with! As a group, we have more spending power than entire nations outside the U.S. borders.
- We come from 20+ different Latin American nations. However, those who trace their origin to Mexico account for 64% of this nation’s total Hispanic population.
- Seventy percent of all Latinos live in five states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and New Jersey. They account for 25% to 60% of everyone living in key cities within these states.
- Hispanics are by far the youngest ethnic group in the U.S. according to Pew Hispanic Center. “The median age of Hispanics is 27 years and 18 years among native-born Hispanics—compared with 42 years for that of white non-Hispanics.”
- Garcia, Rodriguez and Martinez ranked among the 10 most popular last names in America in 2007. Garcia came right after Jones! And right after Martinez (#10) came Hernandez (#11), Lopez (#12) and Gonzalez (#13).
- In a 2011 poll, 67% of Latinos said that they were Democrats. In the 2018 House of Representatives elections, 69% of Latinos voted Democratic, while 29% voted Republican.
These facts, among many more, show what makes Latinos instrumental in shaping and transforming the cultural, political and economic landscape of this nation.