September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. Below is an historical summary and a few noteworthy statistics published by the Census Bureau for this occasion:
In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, which was observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a month-long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15).
America celebrates the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.
Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
The estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2007, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority, constituting 15 percent of the nation’s total population. In addition, there are approximately 3.9 million residents of Puerto Rico.
The nation’s Hispanic population during the 1990 Census — less than half the current total.
The projected Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 24 percent of the nation’s population by that date.
The percentage of Hispanic-origin people in the United States who are of Mexican background. Another 9% are of Puerto Rican background, with 3.4% Cuban, 3.1% Salvadoran and 2.8% Dominican. The remainder are of some other Central American, South American or other Hispanic or Latino origin.
Median age of the Hispanic population in 2007. This compares with 36.6 years for the population as a whole.
The percentage of the Hispanic-origin population that lives in California or Texas. California is home to 13.2 million Hispanics, and Texas is home to 8.6 million.
The number of states with at least a half-million Hispanic residents. They are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002.
Revenue generated by Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002, up 19 percent from 1997.
The median income of Hispanic households in 2006, statistically unchanged from the previous year after adjusting for inflation.
The poverty rate among Hispanics in 2006, down from 21.8 percent in 2005.
The percentage of Hispanics 25 and older who had at least a high school education in 2007.
The percentage of the Hispanic population 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2007.
Percentage of all college students in October 2006 who were Hispanic. Among elementary and high school students combined, the corresponding proportion was 19 percent.
The percentage of Hispanics 16 or older who work in management, professional and related occupations. Roughly the same percentage work in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations. Approximately 24% of Hispanics 16 or older work in service occupations; 22% in sales and office occupations; and 18% in production, transportation and material moving occupations.
The number of Hispanic citizens who reported voting in the 2004 presidential election. The percentage of Hispanic citizens voting — about 47% — did not change statistically from four years earlier.
The number of Hispanic veterans of the U.S. armed forces.