Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 2010: Sept. 15 - Oct. 15

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 by Congress to a month-long celebration (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15), effective the following year. 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. Check out some interesting facts on this fast growing ethnic segment.

48.4 million
The estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2009, making people of Hispanic origin the nation's largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 16 percent of the nation's total population. In addition, there are approximately 4 million residents of Puerto Rico, a Caribbean U.S. territory.

More than 1
. . . of every two people added to the nation's population between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, was Hispanic. There were 1.4 million Hispanics added to the population during the period.

Percentage increase in the Hispanic population between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, making Hispanics the fastest-growing minority group.

132.8 million
The projected Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050. According to this projection, Hispanics will constitute 30 percent of the nation's population by that date.

22.4 million
The nation's Hispanic population during the 1990 Census.

Ranking of the size of the U.S. Hispanic population worldwide, as of 2009. Only Mexico (111 million) had a larger Hispanic population than the United States (48.4 million).

The percentage of Hispanic-origin people in the United States who were of Mexican background in 2008. Another 9 percent were of Puerto Rican background, with 3.4 percent Cuban, 3.4 percent Salvadoran and 2.8 percent Dominican. The remainder was of some other Central American, South American or other Hispanic or Latino origin.

About 44 percent of the nation's Dominicans lived in New York City in 2008 and about half of the nation's Cubans in Miami-Dade County, Fla.

Percentage of children younger than 5 who were Hispanic in 2009. All in all, Hispanics comprised 22 percent of children younger than 18.

27.4 years
Median age of the Hispanic population in 2009. This compared with 36.8 years for the population as a whole.

Number of Hispanic males in 2009 per every 100 Hispanic females. This was in sharp contrast to the overall population, which had 97 males per every 100 females.

States and Counties
The percentage of the Hispanic-origin population that lived in California or Texas in 2009. California was home to 13.7 million Hispanics, and Texas was home to 9.1 million.

The number of states with at least a half-million Hispanic residents -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The percentage of New Mexico's population that was Hispanic in 2009, the highest of any state. Hispanics also made up at least one fifth of the population in California and Texas, at 37 percent each, followed by Arizona (31 percent), Nevada (26 percent), Florida (22 percent) and Colorado (20 percent). New Mexico had 916,000 Hispanics.

The percentage increase in the Hispanic population in Alabama between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, which led all states.

4.7 million
The Hispanic population of Los Angeles County, Calif., in 2009 -- the largest of any county in the nation. Los Angeles County also had the biggest numerical increase in the Hispanic population (78,000) since July 2008.

Proportion of the population of Starr County, Texas, that was Hispanic as of 2009, which led the nation. All of the top 10 counties in this category were in Texas.

Number of the nation's 3,143 counties that were majority-Hispanic.

The increase in California's Hispanic population between July 1, 2008, and July 1, 2009, which led all states. Texas (300,000) and Florida (105,000) also recorded large increases.

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

2.3 million
The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in 2007, up 43.6 percent from 2002.

$345.2 billion
Receipts generated by Hispanic-owned businesses in 2007, up 55.5 percent from 2002.

The percentage of businesses in New Mexico in 2007 that was Hispanic-owned, which led all states. Florida (22.4 percent) and Texas (20.7 percent) were runners-up.

Percentage of Hispanic-owned businesses in the construction and the other services sectors; 50.7 percent of the receipts of these businesses were concentrated in wholesale trade, construction and retail trade.

Families and Children
10.5 million
The number of Hispanic family households in the United States in 2009. Of these households, 61 percent included children younger than 18.

The percentage of Hispanic family households consisting of a married couple.

The percentage of Hispanic family households consisting of a married couple with children younger than 18.

Percentage of Hispanic children living with two parents.

Percentage of stay-at-home mothers who were Hispanic. In contrast, 16 percent of all other mothers were Hispanic.

Percentage of Hispanic married couples with children under 18 where both spouses were employed in 2009, down from 50 percent in 2007, prior to the start of the recession.

Spanish Language
35 million
The number of U.S. residents 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2008. Those who hablan español constituted 12 percent of U.S. residents. More than half of these Spanish speakers spoke English “very well.”

17 million
The number of U.S. residents 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 1990.

Percentage of Hispanics 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2008.

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance
The median income of Hispanic households in 2008, down 5.6 percent from the previous year after adjusting for inflation.

The poverty rate among Hispanics in 2008, up from 21.5 percent in 2007.

The percentage of Hispanics who lacked health insurance in 2008, down from 32.1 percent in 2007.

The percentage of Hispanics 25 and older that had at least a high school education in 2009.

The percentage of the Hispanic population 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2009.

3.7 million
The number of Hispanics 18 and older who had at least a bachelor's degree in 2009.

Number of Hispanics 25 and older with advanced degrees in 2009 (e.g., master’s, professional, doctorate).

Percentage of college students (both undergraduate and graduate students) in October 2008 who were Hispanic.

Percentage of elementary and high school students combined that was Hispanic.

Percent of the foreign-born population that was Hispanic.

The number of Hispanic surnames ranked among the 15 most common in 2000. It was the first time that a Hispanic surname reached the top 15 during a census. Garcia was the most frequent Hispanic surname, occurring 858,289 times and placing eighth on the list -- up from 18th in 1990. Rodriguez (ninth), Martinez (11th) and Hernandez (15th) were the next most common Hispanic surnames.

Percentage of Hispanics or Latinos 16 years and older who were in the civilian labor force in 2008.

The percentage of civilian employed Hispanics or Latinos 16 years and older who worked in management, professional and related occupations in 2008. The same percentage worked in production, transportation and material moving occupations. Another 15 percent worked in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations. Approximately 24 percent of Hispanics 16 or older worked in service occupations; 22 percent in sales and office occupations; and 2 percent in farming, fishing and forestry occupations.

Number of Hispanic chief executives. In addition, 50,866 physicians and surgeons; 48,720 postsecondary teachers; 38,532 lawyers; and 2,726 news analysts, reporters and correspondents were Hispanic.

9.7 million
The number of Hispanic citizens who reported voting in the 2008 presidential election, about 2 million more than voted in 2004. The percentage of Hispanic citizens voting — 50 percent — represented a statistical increase from 2004 (47 percent).

Serving our Country
1.1 million
The number of Hispanics or Latinos 18 years and older who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau