Hispanic History: Facts and People

Hispanic History: Facts and People

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Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. The event, which spans from September 15 to October 15, commemorates how those communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large.

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic History Milestones: Timeline


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Quinceañera, (Spanish: “15 years [feminine form]”) also called quinceaños or quince años or simply quince, the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, marking her passage from girlhood to womanhood the term is also used for the celebrant herself. The quinceañera is both a religious and a social event that emphasizes the importance of family and society in the life of a young woman. It is celebrated in Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean, as well as in Latino communities in the United States and elsewhere.

The celebration begins with a mass attended by the girl and her family and godparents. Mass is followed by a reception, or party, to which friends and relatives are invited. The reception features food, music, and dancing, with the girl accompanied by her “court” of damas (“maids of honour”) and chambelánes (“chamberlains”). Symbolic actions may include the presentation of a doll to a younger sister, to show that the celebrant is giving up her childhood, and the placement of heeled shoes on her feet, to indicate that she is ready for womanhood. Traditionally, the dance portion of the quince includes a choreographed waltz-type dance that is prepared and is considered one of the main events of the evening. Toasts are often offered, and sometimes the cutting of a fancy cake is also involved. The celebration is generally as elaborate as the means of the family will allow. Although the quince observance originally signified that the girl was prepared for marriage, the modern celebration is more likely to signal the beginning of formal dating. Some girls choose a trip abroad rather than a party, and others now choose not to celebrate their 15th birthday in the traditional manner. Like many other rites and ceremonies, quinceañeras continue to evolve.

Because the Aztec and Maya also had such rite-of-passage customs, it is thought that the quinceañera may have originated in the admixture of Spanish culture (including Roman Catholicism) with that of the indigenous peoples the Spaniards colonized.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.

There are currently 42 Hispanic members in Congress, the largest class of Hispanic legislators in history. The first Congressional delegate of Mexican decent was José Manuel Gallegos in 1853. Although he could not read, speak, or write English, he introduced three pieces of legislation and pushed for language accessibility on Capitol Hill.

Today more than 136,000 Hispanic soldiers serve in the U.S. military and 60 have won the Medal of Honor, the country’s highest military award. After World War I, the most decorated soldier in Texas was Private Marcelino Serna, an immigrant from Mexico. During the war, he followed a German sniper into a trench and single-handedly captured or killed 50 enemy soldiers. For his actions he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest award in the Army.

10 Unsung Hispanic Heroes That Changed History

Sunday marks the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, a time when we reflect on the accomplishments and progress of Hispanic culture around the world.

You might wonder why Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15, rather than the beginning of the month. There’s actually an interesting reason behind the timing. September coincides with the independence of four Latin American nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Other Latin American countries also celebrate their independence around that date, with Mexico celebrating on September 16, Chile on September 18, and Belize on September 21.

To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some lesser-known heroes that brought positive change to their communities:

1. Octaviano Larrazolo – 1st elected Hispanic US senator

Born in 1859 in Allende, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, Octaviano Larrazolo would go on to influence US thinking on Hispanic issues. Larrazolo came to Arizona in 1875 with Reverend J.B. Salpointe, who taught Larrazolo theology. Larrazolo taught in Tucson for a year before eventually settling in Las Vegas, New Mexico and became involved with the state’s Democratic Party. Working his way up the political chain, Larrazolo was elected Governor of New Mexico in 1918. He was then elected to the Senate in 1928, becoming the first Hispanic to accomplish such a feat. Sadly, Larrazolo fell ill soon after taking office and died just six months into his term. But the unfortunate end didn’t prevent Octaviano Larrazolo from making his permanent mark on Hispanic and US history.

2. Sylvia Mendez – Paved the way for school desegregation in the US

Sylvia Mendez was born in 1936 and grew up at a time when Hispanics were sent to “Mexican schools” and not allowed to attend schools designated for “Whites Only.” Realizing the white schools had access to better books and other educational benefits, Sylvia’s aunt wished for her family to attend a white school. The aunt was told that her lighter-skinned children could attend the school but the eight year-old Sylvia could not because her skin was darker. After Sylvia was denied enrollment to the white school, her parents sued the California public school system. After years of litigation, Sylvia was finally allowed to attend and became the first Hispanic to enroll in a “Whites Only” school. The case paved the way for the more well-known Brown v. Board of Education case less than ten years later. In 2011, President Obama awarded Mendez with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

3. Hector P. Garcia – Helped bring recognition to Hispanic World War II Veterans

Hector P. Garcia led a long, decorated career as a US Army officer who served in World War II, earning six Bronze Stars for his efforts. But perhaps his bravest mission involved putting his name on the line for a fellow fallen soldier. In 1945, Army Private Félix Longoria was killed by a Japanese sniper in the Philippines. Longoria’s body was returned to his native Three Rivers, Texas, where his family sought to use a funeral chapel in the town. However, Longoria’s family was rebuffed when the funeral director stated that “the whites won’t like it” if the service were held at the chapel. After hearing about Longoria’s story, Garcia lobbied then-President Lyndon B. Johnson to correct the situation. Johnson eventually heard about Garcia’s efforts and agreed that Longoria be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

4. Dolores Huerta – Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union

Huerta is perhaps the best known on the list, as she’s considered one of the most important labor activists in US history. In 1960, Huerta founded the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA), where she set up voter drives and lobbied politicians to provide pensions and public assistance for non-citizen migrant workers. Alongside Cesar Chavez and Gilberto Padilla, Huerta co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). While Chavez served as the charismatic leader, Huerta played an equally valuable role organizing and negotiating with businesses to provide fair treatment for workers. In 1965, Huerta oversaw the merging of the AWA and the NFWA to create the United Farm Workers. This group went on to organize the famous strike by California grape pickers that led to 26 companies agreeing to improve working conditions. Throughout the past four decades, Huerta continued her fight to improve the often-overlooked plight of migrant farm workers. Last month, a documentary film about Huerta’s life, titled Dolores , was released in US theatres.

5. Sor Juana Inês de la Cruz – 17th century feminist writer and thinker

Certainly the oldest on the list, Sor Juana Inês de la Cruz was a crusader for women’s rights at a time when the issue wasn’t even on the public’s radar. She was born circa November 12, 1651 in San Miguel Nepantla, Tepetlixpa, Mexico and showed early signs of extreme intelligence, such as learning to read at the age of three. Inês de la Cruz studied to be a nun at an early age, mainly so she could devote her life to studying without the disruptions of a “fixed occupation.” She spent the rest of her life in Mexico City, where she composed poetry and prose in a variety of genres. This included comedy and scholarly works, which was unusual for a nun at the time. Inés de la Cruz is perhaps best known for her work, Respuesta a Sor Filotea , which argued for educational access for women. Her stature rose in the 20th century, coinciding with the popularity of the feminist movement. Today, her image appears on Mexican currency and she is considered the first feminist author of the New World.

6. Nydia Velazquez – 1st Puerto Rican elected to Congress

Velazquez holds the honor of being the most current women on the list as she still serves in the US House of Representatives, a position she’s held for fifteen years. Velazquez was born to a family of poor sugarcane farmers, who became self-taught political activists. She recalls a childhood where politics were always discussed at the dinner table, usually focused on worker’s rights. After being the first in her family to graduate high school, Velazquez arrived on the mainland, eventually receiving her MA in political science from New York University. After returning to Puerto Rico to teach for a few years, Velazquez came back to the mainland and began her political career. She worked herself up from the bottom, starting as a representative’s aide. She soon secured a seat on the New York City Council and within eight years, was elected to Congress. Velazquez continues to advocate for human and civil rights for the Puerto Rican people to this day.

7. Ellen Ochoa – 1st Hispanic to leave Earth’s atmosphere

In 1993, Ochoa became made history when she served on a 9-day mission into space aboard the shuttle Discovery . This was far from Ochoa’s humble beginnings in La Mesa, California, where she lived with her single mother and three brothers. From an early age, Ochoa thrived in school and eventually earned her doctorate in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1985. This led to a research position at Sandia National Laboratories and the NASA Ames Research Center. In 1990, NASA chose Ochoa to become an astronaut, serving as a crew representative for flight software and robotics. Three years later, Ochoa became the first Hispanic to reach space, as part on a mission to study the Earth’s ozone layer. In 2011, the city of Cleveland celebrated Ochoa’s accomplishments during Hispanic Heritage Month.

8. Ralph Lazo – The only non-Japanese American to voluntarily stay in World War II internment camps

17-year old Ralph Lazo grew up around a group of Japanese-Americans in his Los Angeles neighborhood and formed a tight relationship with the community. When he heard that his neighbors were being forced into World War II internment camps, Lazo volunteered to take a train along with some of his Japanese-American friends. This led them to the Manzanar Internment camp in California, where Lazo finished high school and was voted Class President. His advocacy on behalf of Japanese Americans led to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, where the US officially apologized for the internment camps.

9. Rodolfo Gonzalez – Poet and champion of the Chicano movement

Rodolfo Gonzalez grew up in a tough Denver neighborhood during the Great Depression, which took an especially heavy toll on Mexican Americans. His father instilled a sharp sense of history from his native Mexico and encouraged his son to take pride in his heritage. After becoming a successful professional boxer, Gonzalez retired in 1955 to write poetry. In the 1960s, he composed the poem, “I Am Joaquin,” which many view as the first spark in the Chicano movement. The poem discusses Gonzalez’s idea of the Chicano, which represented a combination of conflicting Indian, European, Mexican and American identities. Gonzalez devoted the rest of his life to teaching cultural identity, focusing on building self esteem among discriminated people.

10. Juan Felipe Herrera – First Chicano Poet Laureate

Herrera grew up in a family of migrant workers who traveled throughout California, taking work where they could and often living in tents. Eventually settling in San Diego, Herrera graduated from high school and received a scholarship to UCLA. He later earned a master’s degree from Stanford and an MFA from the renowned Iowa Writer’s Workshop. As his career flourished, his experiences as a poor campesino continued to influence his writing. In 2015, Herrera was named poet laureate, one of literature’s most distinctive honors. He became the first Chicano to receive the award.

We encourage you to explore these inspiring individuals more in-depth. Their stories form a tapestry of human achievement, linked through our unique cultural heritage. Let their stories inspire you to progress forward and thrive.


Lack of representation Edit

When discussing how Hispanic and Latino individuals are represented in television and film media, it is also important to acknowledge their vast underrepresentation in popular programming. The individuals often stereotyped on television, but they are rarely even seen. Latino Americans represent approximately 18% of the US population but only 0.6 to 6.5% of all primetime program characters, 1% of television families, and fewer than 4.5% of commercial actors. [5] That poses the issue that Hispanic and Latino characters are not rarely seen, but even when they are, they are more than likely to be stereotyped. In the unlikely case that they are depicted, they are more likely to be limited to stereotypic characters, usually negatively. [6]

Stereotypical representation Edit

Stereotypical representation of Hispanic and Latino characters are typically negatively presented and attack the entire ethnic group's morality, work ethic, intelligence, or dignity. Even in no-fiction media, such as news outlets, Hispanics are usually reported on in crime, immigration, or drug-related stories than in accomplishments. [7] The stereotypes can also differ between men and women. Hispanic or Latino men are more likely to be stereotyped as unintelligent, comedic, aggressive, sexual, and unprofessional, earning them titles as "Latin lovers," buffoons, or criminals. [8] That often results in the individuals being characterized as working less-respectable careers, being involved in crimes (often drug-related), or being uneducated immigrants. Hispanic characters are more likely than non-Hispanic white characters to possess lower-status occupations, such as domestic workers, or be involved in drug-related crimes. [9] Hispanic and Latina women, similarly, are typically portrayed as lazy, verbally aggressive, and lacking work ethic. [9] Latinas in modern movies follow old stereotypes. Latinas are still deemed as "less than", objectified and known for being to be alluring to others. [10] The stereotypes are furthered in pseudo-autobiographical characters like George Lopez, who lacks higher education and is written around humor, and Sofia Vergara, who is portrayed as an immigrant woman marrying a rich man and is often mocked for her loud and aggressive voice.

Resulting perspectives Edit

According to Qingwen, "the impact of television portrayals of minorities is significant because of the ability of television images to activate racial stereotypes and the power exerted by visual images." [11] Non-Hispanic white Americans who lack real-life contact with Hispanic or Latino individuals are forced to rely heavily on television and film, their only source of exposure to the ethnic group, as the foundation of perceiving Hispanic and Latino individuals. If nearly all of the few representations of the individuals are negatively stereotyped, non-Hispanic white individuals are likely to carry the perception into real life, embedding that stereotypical image of Hispanic and Latino individuals into their consciousness. Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory gives insight into how the stereotypical character representations are carried into the real world and points to the way in which individuals' perceptions are limited to what they have experienced. Those who lack real-life contact with the stereotyped individuals are unable to counter the television portrayals of this ethnic group with a more realistic and less negative image. [12]

Between 2001 and 2010, the Hispanic population increased significantly in the US, marking Hispanics as the largest minority in California. The news media began negatively framing Hispanics as criminals, illegal immigrants, dangerous and violent, further perpetuating prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes of Hispanics.

  • "Research shows that on English-language news media networks, during the 1990s, negative attitudes started to arise against Hispanics-and-Latinos. This began after voters approved California Proposition 187 in 1994." [13]

Proposition 187 was a 1994 ballot initiative to establish a California-run citizenship screening system and prohibit illegal aliens from using non-emergency health care, public education, and other services in the state. The proposition began a spur of negative images and claims associated with Hispanics and Latinos in the US. [ citation needed ]

Negative news media portrayals, in addition to Proposition 187 affected the Hispanic community greatly by limiting employment opportunities, increasing maltreatment in the criminal justice system, and perpetuating victimization through violent hate crimes against Latinos. Studies show that from 2003 to 2007, violent hate crimes against Latinos have risen by 40%. [13]

Instead of focusing on positive attributes related to Hispanics and Latinos, news media content focused mainly on stereotypes and misjudgments when they addressed the population. As a result, news media programs helped build a "semantic meaning of the Hispanic-and-Latino identity as a metonym for illegal immigration." [13]

  • "This discourse consists of promoting the idea that crime and undocumented immigrants, and the costs of illegal immigration in social services and taxes directly result from the increase of Hispanics-and-Latinos in the United States." [13]

News media portrayed Hispanics as the enemy, consistently labeling them as illegal immigrants and violent criminals without statistics or facts to support their claims. A 2002 study conducted by Chiricos and Escholz [13] examined race and news media content and investigated how news media content primes the local public's fear of crime.

  • "The findings suggested fear of crime forms part of a new 'modem racism' that is, that local television news may contribute to the social construction of threat in relation to both minorities television over-represents African Americans and Hispanics in crime news in relation to their share of the general population." [13]

Another study conducted by Waldman and colleagues analyzed three cable commentators: Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck and their discussion of illegal immigration. [13] These results concluded that 70% of the Lou Dobbs Tonight episodes in 2007 contained discussion of illegal immigration, 56% of the O'Reilly Factor episodes in 2007 discussed illegal immigration and Glenn Beck discussed illegal immigration in 28% of his year 2007 programs. As a result of popular shows labeling Hispanics as "illegal immigrants" and often portraying Hispanics in a negative light, the programs gave anti-immigration activists a platform for discrimination. [13]

In attempt to verify the accuracy of stereotypes held against Hispanics and Latinos, studies conducted at Harvard and Michigan showed that undocumented and foreign-born immigrants were far less likely to commit acts of deviance, crime, drunk driving, or any kind of action that may jeopardize US citizens' well-being. In addition, the study found that the incarceration rate of foreign-born citizens is five times less the rate of native-born citizens. [13]

News media in the 2000s greatly enhanced negative stereotypes associated with Hispanics and Latinos, which further perpetuated anti-immigration rhetoric and opinions throughout the nation. In the early 2000s, many news media programs [ which? ] portrayed unfair and inaccurate stereotypes of Hispanics, mainly because of their high immigration rate at the time. [ citation needed ]

According to several scholars, the stereotypes of Hispanics are similar to the ones associated with African Americans. Often characterized as being dangerous, drug traffickers, drug users, violent, and gang bangers, Hispanics are subjected to much stereotyping in the US in relation to crime, especially by their white counterparts. However, this is false. [14]

In the world, Latin Americans are incorrectly perceived as a "race", with a stereotypical "mixed-race" appearance personified by a "mestizo" (mix of European and indigenous) or "mulatto" (mix of European and Sub-Saharan African) look, which conjures up an image of a person with brown skin, dark eyes, and dark hair, but Latinos are an ethnic group made up of numerous ethnicities, not all of whom are "mixed-race". The "mixed-race" individuals are often identified as "Hispanic" or "Latino", but "mono-ethnic" looking "Hispanics" or "Latinos", with the exception of some "indigenous people" of United States ("Turtle Island"), are not identified as "Hispanic" or "Latino" but as "indigenous people" respectively. The US government greatly contributes to said confusion through the action of categorizing people as "races" instead of "ethnicities" and because of this, the"Latino" ethnicity is without any indication in demographic statistical reports. Which implies that the category for "your race" is exclusive of the "Hispanic" or "Latino" identity. The media does well enough in reporting discrimination or "acts of racism" against "Hispanics" or "Latinos" ("mestizos" and "mulattoes") at large, but hateful actions are sometimes motivated by the fact of having or being of "mixed-race" appearance or heritage. "Non- indigenous" or "monoethnic" looking "Hispanics" or "Latinos" likely try to avoid facing the same discrimination from appearance alone. That misunderstanding of the "Hispanic" or "Latino" identity often causes "Euro-Latin" Americans, "Afro-Latin" Americans, "Asian Latin" Americans and to a lesser extent "Indigenous peoples" of the Americas to be underrepresented or entirely dismissed in many societies of different countries all over globe. When it comes to the "Latino narrative" it is sometimes incorrectly represented as either sterotypes, misinformation, or complete lies that fail to grasp the "Latin/hispanic" culture and the "Latin/Hispanic identity" in a whole.

Cholo Edit

A very common stereotype of Hispanic/Latino males is that of the criminal, gang member, or "cholo". It is connected to the idea of Hispanics/Latinos being lower class and living in dangerous neighborhoods that breed the attitude of "cholo". Cholo and chola are terms often used in the United States to denote members of the Chicano gang subculture. The individuals are characterized by a defiant street attitude, a distinctive dress style, and the use of caló, slang, speech. In the United States, the term "cholo" often has a negative connotation and so tends to be imposed upon a group of people, rather than being used as a means of self-identification. That leads to considerable ambiguity in the particulars of its definition. In its most basic usage, it always refers to a degree of indigeneity. [15]

"Illegal alien"/ "job stealer" Edit

Hispanics/Latinos are frequently seen as the "others" in the US despite their large percentage of the population. The otherness becomes a lens in which to view them as foreign or not being American, which they are not because they are here illegally. That mentality creates the illegal stereotype and the concept of job stealing. Generally, the term "immigrant" has positive connotations in relation to the development and operation of democracy and US history, but "illegal aliens" are vilified. [16] The term "illegal alien" is defined as "a foreign person who is living in a country without having official permission to live there." [17] Although many Latino/Hispanic Americans were born in the US or have legal status, they can be dismissed as immigrants or foreigners who live without proper documentation taking opportunities and resources from real Americans. Immigrants have been represented as depriving citizens of jobs, as welfare-seekers, or as criminals. [16] Especially with the recent political/social movement in the United States for stricter immigration law, Americans are blaming Hispanics for "stealing jobs" and negatively impacting the economy.

Homogenous origin Edit

A very common stereotype, as well as mentality, is that all Hispanic/Latino individuals have the same ethnic background, race, and culture but there are really numerous subgroups, with unique identities. Americans tend to explain all of Latin America in terms of the nationalities or countries that they know. For instance, in the Midwest and the Southwest, Latin Americans are largely perceived as Mexicans, but in the East, particularly in the New York and Boston areas, people consider Latin Americans through their limited interactions with Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. In Miami, Cubans and Central Americans are the reference group for interpreting Latin America. The idea of homogeneity is so extensive in US society that even important politicians tend to treat Latin America as a culturally-unified region. [3] Hispanic/Latino Americans become a homogenous group, instead of their actual individual cultures, qualities, and differences.

Hard labor worker or uneducated/lazy Edit

There are two conflicting common stereotypes in accordance with employment that male Hispanics/Latinos tend to fall into a manual labor worker or an unemployed/lazy citizen. Many Hispanic/Latino Americans have equally as much education and skill level but are seen as "hard labor workers" such as farmhands, gardeners, and cleaners. This stereotype goes along with that of the immigrant in believing all Hispanics/Latinos work in hard labor fields and manual labor only because they arrive in the country legally, which is false. Latin Americans have are also often pictured as not strongly inclined to work hard, despite the conflicting stereotype of working manual labor jobs. [3] Today, negative stereotypes against certain ethnic groups about low cognitive abilities exist in many world regions, including stereotypes about people with a Latino background in the US. [18] The stereotype creates a standard of thinking that alienates Hispanic/Latinos from having as many job and education opportunities because they are viewed as less than others. [ citation needed ]

Discrepancy between Hispanic identity and identity Edit

Latino masculinity, which is already coded as violent, criminal, and dangerous (Collins 1991 Ferguson 2000 Vasquez 2010), makes the racial project of controlling images systematically restrict Latinos' lives. [19] Machismo is depicted as the cult of male strength, which implies being fearless, self-confident, capable of making decisions, and able to support one's family. It also emphasized an acceptance of male dominance over women, including the valorization of Don Juanism, and, in its extreme form, a defense of the traditional division of labor (women in the kitchen and taking care of the children and men as providers). Hollywood movies, along with some American scholars and other people in the country, tend to regard machismo as unique to Latin America. [3] Hispanic identity and stereotypes can place a limit on how Hispanic men are able to present themselves such as Hispanic men in the LGBTQ community. [ citation needed ]

Entertainment and marketing industries Edit

According to scholars, in the entertainment industry, Latinas have been historically depicted as possessing one of two completely-contrasting identities. They have been depicted as either "virginal," "passive," and "dependent on men" or as "hot-tempered," "tempestuous," "promiscuous," and "sexy." [20] A 2005 study conducted by Dana Mastro and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, professors of communication studies at the University of Arizona, found depictions of Latina Americans on primetime television are both limited and biased. The study analyzed the frequency and the quality of the depictions of Hispanic individuals on primetime television in 2002. The study found that "Latinas were the laziest characters in primetime. they were the least intelligent, most verbally aggressive, embodied the lowest work ethic, and (alongside whites) were the most ridiculed." [21] According to the same studies, the marketing industry has also played a role in stereotyping females with Hispanic origin by using the stereotypical identities to sell product. Specifically, the bodies of Latina women have been used and sexualized to sell product targeted to men. According to Mary Gilly, a professor of business at the University of California Irvine, Latina women, in particular, are eroticized in the marketing industry because of their frequent portrayal as "tempestuous," "promiscuous," or "sexy." [22]

Fiery Latina and the hot señorita Edit

Stereotypical identities that have spurred from the idea that Hispanic and Latina women are "hot-tempered", "tempestuous", "promiscuous" and "sexy" include the "fiery Latina" and the "hot señorita." Both stem from the fact that Hispanic and Latina women are continually sexualized and eroticized in popular programming and in the entertainment industry as a whole. Recent examples include Sofia Vergara's character on Modern Family, but examples date back to the 1920s and 1930s with "Dolores del Río playing the exotic and passionate lover of the 1920s, and Carmen Miranda playing sexy and bombshell characters in the 1930s and 1940s." Vergara portrays Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on "Modern Family," a "trophy wife" often seen in provocative clothing and high heeled shoes. She often has trouble pronouncing English words and speaks with a heavy accent. Among the contemporary depictions accused of promoting the "Latina bombshell" [23] include Iris Chacón's [24] image, Naya Rivera in Glee, and Shakira and Jennifer Lopez's "somewhat infamous music videos." [25]

Virginal stereotype Edit

Gina Rodriguez's portrayal of Jane on The CW romantic dramedy, Jane the Virgin, is one of the more recent examples of Hispanic and Latina women being portrayed as "virginal" or "passive." Jane is a devout Catholic who learns that she is pregnant after she is accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine check-up. The show follows Jane as she struggles with the discovery and faces challenges as a new mother. While Rodriguez's character is almost the polar opposite of Vergara's, both perpetuate extreme stereotypes of Hispanic and Latina women. Missing Citation

Fertility threat Edit

It has been established that Latinas in the United States have been hypersexualized by the media and societal stereotypes. [ citation needed ] One reason for Latinas being stereotyped as hyper-sexualization is the idealistic picture of large Latino families with multiple children because of the Latina's highly sexualized nature. That has created the political and social threat of Latina fertility in which there is a concern that the hypothetical fertility and birthing rates of Latinas is much more than their non-Hispanic white people, adding to the threat of the Latino presence in the United States.

A significant study compared the sexual activity of non-Hispanic white women and Latinas in Orange County, California, where there is a high population of Mexican-American families. Non-Hispanic white women began sexual relations about a year younger than all of the Latinas in the survey reported. The non-Hispanic white women were more likely to report having had five or more sexual partners, but Latinas were more likely to report no more than two. Both non-Hispanic white women and Latinas showed a trend towards fewer children per household. In fact, second-generation Latinas were shown to have fewer children than non-Hispanic white women. [26] The study's results reinforce the idea that the stereotype of the hypersexual fertile Latina is another social construct aimed at creating the Latino threat narrative in the United States.

News and media Edit

According to several sources, the entertainment industry can be credited with the creation and frequent reinforcement of the stereotypes, but the news is particularly important in the maintenance of these stereotypes. Unlike the entertainment and marketing industries, according to several studies, the press produces representations that are based on "reality." [27] A 1994 study by Macrea et al., found stereotypes are generalizations that our culture has defined for us, and that using stereotypes is "more efficient." Thus, according to Macrea et al., journalists, because of time and space constraints, may be more likely to rely on stereotypic portrayals. [28]

Recent research has consistently found that both Hispanic Americans have been underrepresented in news media and that their limited portrayal have been depicted as a burden on contemporary American society. [20] The recent election of President Donald Trump has brought the issue to the forefront of American news, and issues relating specifically to immigration have perpetuated stereotypes of Hispanic and Latino Americans as criminals. [29]

Lazy stereotype Edit

Hispanics are misperceived as "lazy" or "unintelligent" people because of the stereotypes of Latinos strictly occupying blue-collar jobs such as construction workers and older-generation Latinos being unable to speak English.

Ethnic-minority students, who are in the lower-income bracket, are more likely to attend schools that are overcrowded, dangerous, and limited in the opportunities offered for advanced coursework with experienced teachers. [30] Because of the inequalities in education, the graduation rate for Latino students is substantially below the rate for white students. [30] Without a sufficient education, Hispanics have a harder time obtaining white-collar or professional jobs.

Contrary to the belief that Hispanics are "lazy," a study by Andrew J. Fuligni has shown that "students from ethnic minority backgrounds often have higher levels of motivation than their equally achieving peers from European backgrounds. Latin American and Asian families have significantly higher values of academic success and a stronger belief in the utility of education." [30] The high level of motivation comes from Hispanics having a greater sense of obligation to support, assist, and respect the family. [30]

A common misconception about Latinos and language learning is that not being able to speak English is a sign of unwillingness to learn. [31] Some immigrants, from Mexico and other Latin countries, live in the United States for decades without acquiring a basic command of English. [31] The primary reason is that it is difficult to learn a second language as an adult. [31] Another reason is that finding time to learn a new language while struggling to financially support and spend time with family may be impossible. [31]

Job-stealing stereotype Edit

The "job-stealing Hispanic" stereotype is also false. According to Pastora San Juan Cafferty and William C. McCready, "a preliminary study of labor market competition among the Black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White population (Borjas, 1983) found no evidence that Hispanics had a negative impact on the earnings of the other two groups." [32] Hispanics are not "taking away" jobs that non-Hispanic groups want. The blue-collar jobs Hispanics obtain are low paying and have few fringe benefits, leading to little or no health insurance coverage. [32]

Criminal stereotype Edit

The aggressive "Hispanic gangbanger/criminal" stereotype, which we often see in movies and on television, is inaccurate. Gang-suppression approaches of numerous police departments have become "over-inclusive and embedded with practices that create opportunities for abuse of authority." [33] This means most of the gang enforcement police stops are based on racial profiling. [33] These stops involve no reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and oftentimes include non-gang members. [33]

Trouble establishing identities Edit

Hispanic youth have a more difficult time establishing a positive school identity because of the negative academic stereotypes regarding their racial-ethnic group. [30] The academic stereotypes, which negatively affect the academic performance of Latinos, focus on inability, laziness, and a lack of interest and curiosity. [30]

Adolescence makes teenagers come face to face with deeply-rooted social issues, and the challenges they face can be daunting. For young Latinas in particular, the societal and emotional issues that they must come to terms with can be complicated. These issues can be complicated because they are learning who they are and what they want their role to be in society, but they also must fight against the stereotypes that have been imposed upon them by culture. Positive identity formation for young Latinas may be more difficult to achieve than it is for young Anglo girls. Some have postulated that providing young Latinas with the concepts of feminism may enhance their abilities to believe in themselves and improve their chances of realizing that they have the abilities to be successful because of who they are, not because of who they married. However, a recent study published in the Journal of Adolescent Research found that young Latinas may have a "different perspective" on feminism than their Anglo counterparts. The study found that Latinas experienced feminism differently because of cultural values young Latinas "face an intricate balance between future family and career goals in their identity development." Some Latinas interviewed in the study expressed concern that if they told a young man that they were feminists, "they might assume that the girls didn't like men" and a large number also opposed the ideas of feminism and equality because of traditional values. The study ultimately determined that the majority of the young Latinas interviewed considered themselves to be feminists but a relatively large minority of the young women rejected the idea of feminism and equality because they were fearful of possible female superiority and endorsed traditional family values and female occupations. [34]

Research shows that many Latinos in the United States do not identify as "American" but instead with their or their parents' or grandparents' country of origin. [31] One of the reasons is the misbelief that to be an American, one needs to be white. [31] Latinos who have experienced racial discrimination are more likely to identify as Latino or Latino American than simply American because they feel they are not treated as "real" Americans. [31]

Mental instability Edit

A study by Suárez-Orozco and Suárez-Orozco (2001) has shown that the internalization of perceived stigmatized identity of Hispanics can lead to resigned helplessness, self-defeating behavior, and depression. [30]

Academic performance Edit

Findings from an experimental study of college-bound Hispanic students showed that when Hispanic students were faced with stereotype threat, their academic performance suffered. [35] Results of the study showed that Hispanic students who internalized racial stereotypes performed worse on a standardized test than Hispanic students who did not internalize those same stereotypes. [35] The negative impact of racial stereotypes on student performance has implications for the overall educational journey of Hispanic and Latino students. [35] Performing poorly on standardized tests could lead to limitations in the options available for furthering education. Another experimental study of Latino undergraduate students found that Latino students in the stereotype threat condition performed worse on an exam than all other students with which they were compared (Latino students in non-stereotype threat condition and white students in both stereotype threat and non-stereotype threat conditions). [36] A study by Fischer (2009) found that Hispanic college students who internalize negative stereotypes about themselves tend to spend fewer hours studying, which further decreases their academic performance. [37]

Hispanic History: Facts and People

Hispanics in Oklahoma in the twentieth century trace their roots to all nineteen Spanish-speaking Latin American nations and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and, after American Indians and African Americans, comprise the third largest ethnic minority in Oklahoma. Until the 1960s Hispanics in Oklahoma were almost exclusively of Mexican descent. Significant Mexican immigration began after 1900, as deteriorating social and economic conditions and the revolution of 1910 drove thousands of refugees to seek security and employment in Oklahoma. In the early twentieth century Mexicans constituted a majority of the Oklahoma railroad maintenance crews, comprised the fourth largest ethnic group laboring in the southeastern coal-mining district, annually participated in the cotton harvests, and held a variety of unskilled jobs throughout the state. By 1930 Mexicans numbered approximately seventy-five hundred and had established small colonias in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Bartlesville, Lawton, and dozens of towns along the Santa Fe, Rock Island, and Katy railroads.

Although the majority were Roman Catholic, initially there were no Oklahoma Spanish-speaking priests. In 1915 several Spanish Carmelites fleeing the Mexican revolution founded an Oklahoma mission to serve the growing number of immigrants. In 1927 they built Little Flower Church in Oklahoma City and later established Our Lady of Guadalupe in Tulsa. The Great Depression decreased the state's Mexican population, and in 1940 only about 1,500 remained. Those who stayed would form the base of an enduring Hispanic community. During World War II young men of Mexican descent joined the military, served with honor, and qualified for the "G.I. Bill of Rights." Unprecedented numbers were able to obtain a college education, on-the-job training, or loans to establish their own businesses.

In the decades following the war the population of Hispanics of Mexican descent significantly grew. Mexico's burgeoning population fed a growing migrant stream, and in the mid-1960s an important in-migration of Mexican Americans from Texas began, establishing a continuing trend. Severe economic crises in the early 1980s and mid-1990s and significant changes in U.S. immigration policies spurred new waves of migration that included sizeable but undetermined numbers of undocumented workers. Mexican immigrants most commonly work as farm laborers, ranch hands, construction workers, and restaurant and service personnel. Many send a portion of their earnings to their families in Mexico.

Beginning in the 1960s the non-Mexican Hispanic population of Oklahoma also significantly grew. Puerto Ricans, who comprise the second largest Hispanic group in Oklahoma, usually come to the state as members of the armed forces or civilian employees at such places as Fort Sill, Altus Air Force Base, Tinker Field, and Vance Air Force Base and have remained after completing their enlistment period or upon retirement. Others migrate to pursue educational, professional, or business opportunities. Reflecting their largely military connections, Puerto Ricans reside principally in Comanche, Oklahoma, Tulsa, and Cleveland counties. Their status as U.S. citizens with full political rights markedly differentiates them from all other Hispanic newcomers.

Oklahomans of Cuban ancestry have comprised the third largest Hispanic group in the state, but their number remains relatively small. Although over one million Cubans fled the island after Fidel Castro took power in 1959 and the United States offered refugees financial assistance for relief and resettlement, proportionally few traveled to Oklahoma during the exodus's peak years. In 2000 Oklahomans of Cuban descent totaled approximately 1,700, or 1 percent of the Hispanic population. They live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Comanche, and Cleveland counties, and they typically hold managerial, professional, military, or business positions.

People who trace their ancestry to the Spanish-speaking nations of Central and South America are a rapidly growing segment of Oklahoma's Hispanic population. Social and economic problems, civil war, and guerrilla insurgencies in areas such as Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Colombia, and Peru have pushed many economic and political refugees into the state. While an undetermined number of undocumented immigrants from these areas, particularly from rural Central America, have reached Oklahoma, most apparently have come as professionals, technical workers, spouses, students, or as a result of family reunification. South American immigrants generally reflect more urban middle-class or skilled working-class characteristics than their Central American counterparts. Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Colombians, Peruvians, and Venezuelans constitute the largest contingents of Central and South American newcomers and live predominantly in the Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton areas.

Organizations such as Oklahoma City's Latino Development Agency and Legal Aid of Western Oklahoma facilitated the adjustment of Hispanic immigrants. These institutions provide employment referrals, medical, social, and educational services, youth programs, legal advice, immigration and naturalization information, and consulting services for small business owners. Oklahoma religious institutions serve both the spiritual and material needs of the community. The Salvation Army, the Catholic Hispanic Affairs Commission, and the Catholic Charities provide an array of social and educational programs, and Catholic, Protestant, interdenominational, and nondenominational churches offer religious services in Spanish. Civic associations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens, American G.I. Forum, Oklahoma Association of Hispanic Professionals, Latin American Council for Human Rights, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Governor's Hispanic Council all voice Hispanic concerns. Spanish-language newspapers in major urban areas discuss community affairs and enable businesses and public agencies to reach more effectively a growing Spanish-speaking clientele. Spanish-language radio stations across the state offer news programs, public announcements, and popular music.

The maintenance of ethnic identity and promotion of cultural pride is important to Oklahoma Hispanics. For more than a century Mexicans have commemorated national patriotic events such as the Cinco de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre (Mexico's Independence Day). In 1991 Oklahoma officially established September 15 to October 15 as "Hispanic Month." Many Hispanics continue to mark the Día de la Raza (Columbus Day), and Colombians, Peruvians, Panamanians, and others celebrate their mother country's achievement of independence. Groups such as the Hispanic Heritage Association in Oklahoma City and the Hispanic American Foundation of Tulsa are devoted to the maintenance of traditional customs, dances, and music.

In 2000 nearly 180,000 Hispanics, or 5.2 percent of the population, lived in Oklahoma, an increase of over 100 percent since 1990. Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that if undocumented and uncounted aliens were included in the total, the number would be substantially higher. Persons of Mexican heritage comprise approximately 75 percent of all Oklahoma Hispanics. The largest groups live in Oklahoma City (51,000), Tulsa (28,000), Lawton (8,700), Guymon (4,000), and Altus (3,700), but Hispanics reside in every county. The regions of heaviest concentration are in the western portions, particularly communities in the southwest and the Panhandle, where Hispanics frequently comprise more than 25 percent of the population. Spanish is the primary language spoken in approximately 75 percent of Oklahoma's Hispanic households, and the influx of non-English speakers has severely challenged public officials' ability to provide services and facilities. In some classrooms, as many as one half of the students do not speak English. Although Hispanics have built no powerful political block or pressure group, recent demographic trends suggest that they will play an increasingly important role in Oklahoma's future.


Pastora San Juan Cafferty and David W. Engstrom, eds., Hispanics in the United States: An Agenda for the Twenty-first Century (New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2000).

Mary Romero et al., Challenging Fronteras (New York and London: Routledge, 1997).

Michael M. Smith, "Beyond the Borderlands: Mexican Labor in the Central Plains, 1900–1930," Great Plains Quarterly 1 (Fall 1981).

Michael M. Smith, "Latinos in Oklahoma: A History of Four and a Half Centuries," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 87 (Summer 2009).

Michael M. Smith, The Mexicans in Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).

Michael M. Smith, "Mission to the Immigrants: Establishment of the Order of Discalced Carmelites in Oklahoma, 1914–1929," in Southwestern Cultural Heritage Festival 1981, ed. W. David Baird et al. (Stillwater: Oklahoma State University Press, 1981).

Jeffrey M. Widener, "The Latino Impress in Oklahoma City," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 89 (Spring 2011).

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Hispanic Musicians and Singers

Hispanic and Latino musicians like Selena, Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Marc Anthony and Carlos Santana have conquered the music world, breaking barriers in many genres.

What percentage of Latinos are immigrants? Can you name a famous Mexican American?

Thursday marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs September 15 through October 15.

This period includes the anniversaries of independence of several Latin American countries (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, Belize, and Costa Rica) as well as Columbus Day on October 12.

The U.S. Latino population is currently estimated at 55 million, and Hispanics are more visible and influential than ever before.

Yet as our video shows, misperceptions about Latinos are not uncommon.

So here are five takeaways for Hispanic Heritage Month 2016:

1. Latinos are the largest ethnic/racial group in the U.S. – not the fastest-growing.

Latinos remain the country’s largest ethnic/racial minority group, comprising 17 percent of the U.S. population.

But according to Census Bureau figures, Asians are the country’s fastest-growing minority group. Mark Hugo Lopez of the Pew Hispanic Center noted that, between 2000 and 2010, Latinos and Asians had roughly the same rate of growth. Since then, the U.S. Asian population has been growing faster that the U.S. Latino population.

There are two main factors behind the slowing of the growth rate of the Hispanic population, Lopez explained.

“Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, immigration from Latin America fueled the growth of the Hispanic population. Now this has dropped off, to the point where there are more Mexicans leaving the country than arriving,” he said. “Meanwhile, the U.S.-born Hispanic population has lower fertility rates than immigrants.”

2. The three states with the largest Latino populations are California, Texas and Florida.

More than half of the overall U.S. Latino population reside in these states, with California being home to about 15 million Latinos, Texas to 10 million, and Florida to 4 million. New Mexico has the largest percentage of a state population that is Latino: 48 percent.

Pew Research's Mark Hugo Lopez told NBC News that he expected these trends to continue, although the growth of the Latino population in California and Texas would likely slow in the future.

Southern states like Alabama and Georgia have been strong drivers of Latino population growth about 43 percent of the growth of the national Latino population was in the southeast.

People might be surprised to know that the fastest-growing counties for Latinos are in North Dakota. Williams County, Stark County and Ward County, North Dakota, all saw their Hispanic populations more than double between 2007 to 2014. Lopez attributes this to North Dakota’s oil boom, which has resulted in Latinos moving there to work in the oil industry and in construction.

3. Mexican-Americans comprise almost two-thirds of the U.S. Latino population.

Mexican-Americans have made their mark in politics and civil rights (HUD Secretary Julián Castro, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Cesar Chávez), entertainment (Eva Longoria, George Lopez, Selena), sports (Mark Sanchez, Oscar de la Hoya) and even in space (astronaut José Hernandez).

So why does the public, at times, seem to be unfamiliar with the contributions of Mexican-Americans?

Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith of the University of Arizona’s Department of Mexican American Studies theorizes that it stems from a lack of education. Mexican-American history is not taught at the elementary and high school levels, she pointed out. “At most, the curriculums might include a mention of Cesar Chavez.”

“We (Mexican-Americans) have always been like a kind of invisible people. The master narrative comes out of the East Coast, and that leaves us out,” Rubio-Goldsmith said. “It is only lately that our numbers are growing so that people are paying attention.” While there has been some recent growth of Mexican-American Studies programs, she believes that “we still have a long way to go.”

4. Most U.S Latinos are native-born.

Despite the widespread perception that most Latinos are immigrants – a 2012 poll found that Americans erroneously believed that 1 out of 3 Latinos were undocumented immigrants – a majority of U.S. Hispanics were born here. The Migration Policy Institute reports that only 35 percent of Latinos are immigrants.

Cynthia Pleitez of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation said it’s important to see beyond outdated stereotypes and assumptions about Latinos.

“People should know, for example, that Latinos are very technologically savvy. We over-index for use of social media,” Pleitez told NBC News. “We are people who value technology and entrepreneurship.”

“We are not a threat to American culture or values. We (Latinos) are actually a representation of America’s core values,” she said. “We are a direct succession of what it means to be American. We are here in the country to be a part of it like anybody else.”

5. A taco truck on every corner might not be a bad idea.

In a recent interview with MSNBC, Marco Gutierrez, founder of Latinos for Trump, warned that Latino culture was “very dominant” and that “if you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks on every corner.” His words lit up social media, and within minutes “TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner” was trending on Twitter. Columnists around the world jumped on this viral hashtag, and NPR declared the phrase “Meme of the Week.”

Yet there may be an economic case for having taco trucks on every corner. Working from Census Bureau data to extrapolate the number of corners in the U.S., Washington Post columnist Phillip Bump estimated that a taco truck on every corner could result in at least 9.6 million new jobs.

And that’s only based on his estimate of three people working in each taco truck a taco truck on every corner would have a multiplier effect on other jobs, such as mechanics, gas station workers, grocers, and farm workers. What's more — the production, distribution, and consumption of the output of these trucks would likely stay completely within the USA.

We'll take two tacos "al Pastor" to go.

Follow NBC News Latino on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Raul A. Reyes, a lawyer, is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors. He has written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Texas Monthly and the Huffington Post.

Jessica DePalma is a multimedia producer for NBC News. She started this role in October of 2011. DePalma is responsible for writing, editing and producing content for NBC’s Original Video Unit. DePalma reports to Bill Smee, executive producer of the Original Video Unit.

DePalma joined from MSNBC cable, where she was a segment producer for “Early Today” and “First Look.” In that role, DePalma was responsible for writing, video editing and line producing for the two live morning news programs.

Prior to her work at MSNBC, DePalma was a producer at NBC Mobile, responsible for writing, shooting, editing and producing news and entertainment video segments for cell phones.

Economic characteristics of U.S. Hispanic population, 2017

Among U.S. Hispanics
All U.S. born Foreign born
MEDIAN ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME $49,010 $53,000 $45,200
MEDIAN ANNUAL PERSONAL EARNINGS (ages 16 and older with positive earnings)
All $25,000 $26,000 $25,000
Full-time, year-round workers $34,000 $37,000 $30,000
EMPLOYMENT STATUS (civilians ages 16 and older)
Employed 63% 61% 66%
Not employed 4% 5% 3%
Not in labor force 33% 34% 31%
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (civilians ages 16 and older in the labor force) 6% 7% 5%
All ages 19% 20% 18%
Younger than 18 27% 26% 31%
18-64 16% 15% 17%
65 and older 18% 15% 20%
HOMEOWNERSHIP (households)
Owner-occupied 47% 49% 46%
Renter-occupied 53% 51% 54%

Note: Hispanics are of any race. The household population excludes persons living in institutions, college dormitories and other group quarters. Households are classified by the detailed Hispanic origin group of the head of the household. "Full-time, year-round workers" are defined as people ages 16 and older who usually worked at least 35 hours per week and at least 48 weeks in the past year. The share of the population ages 16 and older who are not employed differs from the unemployment rate because the share not employed is based on the total population, while the unemployment rate is based on those who are in the labor force (i.e. working or looking for work.) Poverty status is determined for individuals in housing units and non-institutional group quarters. It is unavailable for children younger than 15 who are not related to the householder, people living in institutional group quarters and people living in college dormitories or military barracks. Due to the way in which IPUMS assigns poverty values, these data will differ from those provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Figures may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of 2017 American Community Surveys (1% IPUMS).

15 Cool and Interesting Facts About Hispanics in the United States

1. 52.0 MILLION OR 16.7% The Hispanic population of the US as of July 1, 2011, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. In addition, there are 3.7 million residents of Puerto Rico, a US territory.

2. GARCÍA, RODRÍGUEZ, MARTÍNEZ & HERNÁNDEZ are the most common Hispanic surnames in the US in the year 2000. The year 2000 was the first time that a Hispanic surname reached the top 15 in the nation during a census.

3. 2 ND is the ranking of the US Hispanic population worldwide, as of 2010 with 50.5 million. Only Mexico’s population with 112 million is larger than the US. – Source: International Data Base

4. 37.0 MILLION OR 12.8% is the number of US residents 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2010. More than half of these Spanish speakers spoke English “very well.”

5. 1.2 MILLION is the number of Hispanics or Latinos 18 and older who are veterans of the US armed forces.

6. 67.8% is the percentage of Hispanics or Latinos 16 and older who were in the civilian labor force in 2010.

7. 1.1 MILLION is the number of Hispanics 25 and older with advanced degrees in 2010 (like Master’s, Professional or Doctorate).

8. 25 is the number of states in which Hispanics were the largest minority group. These states were Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

9. $350.7 BILLION receipts generated by Hispanic-owned businesses in 2007. Up 58.0% from 2002.

10. 132.8 MILLION is the projected Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. That is 30% of the US population by that date.

11. MORE THAN 50% is the percent of all the Hispanic population that lives in California, Florida, and Texas as of July 1, 2011.

12. 10.7 MILLION is the number of Hispanic family households in the United States in 2011.

13. 2.3 MILLION is the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2007, up 43.6 percent from 2002.

14. 63% is the percentage of Hispanic-origin people in the United States who were of Mexican background in 2010. Another 9.2% were of Puerto Rican background, 3.5% Cuban, 3.3% Salvadoran and 2.8% Dominican. The remainder was of some other Central American, South American or other Hispanic/Latino origin.

15. 1 IN 4 is the amount of counties in which Hispanics doubled their population since 2000.