In the U.S., the majority of people with Hispanic ancestry do not identify as Hispanic. While Hispanics can be of any race, there are many differences in their patterns of identity. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that about one-third of U.S. residents identifying as Hispanic are born outside of the U.S. Moreover, if we consider only immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, that number increases to a little under half a million.
Hispanic heritage is represented by various art forms and is celebrated in Hispanic countries. Many notable artists from Latin American countries pay tribute to the heritage and culture of Hispanics in the U.S. The National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum support this celebration. Some of these cultural icons include Dolores Huerta, Roberto Clemente, and Sonia Sotomayor.
September is Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S. It commemorates the contributions of Hispanics to our nation. The month is marked by festivals, art exhibits, conferences, and community gatherings. Moreover, September also commemorates the independence days of some Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Honduras, and Puerto Rico. The month’s festivities include activities for educators, scientists, artists, and professionals.
Although the Census Bureau uses the term “Hispanic” to describe the population, there are many other terms used to refer to people with Hispanic or Latino (as the census bureau does), including the word Latino. In fact, about 55% of Latinos in the United States identify as Catholic. Despite the differences in the definition of Hispanic or Latino, this month is celebrated to honor the achievements of the Latino community.
Today, the United States has 57 million Hispanic residents, making them the fastest-growing racial group after Asians. Just five million people in the United States do not identify as Hispanic or Latino, according to the Pew Research Center, which surveys U.S. adults. Census Bureau data show that the self-identification rate among Hispanics varies across immigrant generations. While the majority of foreign-born individuals from Latin America are Hispanic, third and fourth-generation immigrants are not.
During the month of September, the United States celebrates Hispanic heritage with special programs, exhibits, and Web sites. The celebration originally began as a one-week event under President Lyndon Johnson, but was expanded to a full month celebration under President Ronald Reagan in 1988. Whether you’re celebrating Hispanic heritage with a family reunion, a cultural event, or a celebration of an important part of your history, this month is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and learn more about it.
The U.S. Congress passed a law in 1976 that mandated the collection of Hispanic data. The legislation defines Hispanics as Americans who trace their roots to Spanish-speaking countries. The term also covers people from Brazil and Portugal. Historically, Americans were considered Hispanic if they spoke Spanish. As such, the U.S. census data represent only a part of the population, and the Hispanic Census is an important way to learn more about your community’s heritage.