Diversity & Inclusion

Hispanic Heritage Month 2008

Hispanic Heritage month starts today and runs through October 15. In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, which was observed during the week that included September 15 and 16. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a month-long celebration.

Hispanic Heritage month 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. September 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 September 16 and 18, respectively.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau about America’s Hispanic population and its role in the workplace:

  • The Hispanic population of the United States is estimated to be 45.5 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics constituted 15 percent of the nation’s total population. In addition, there are approximately 3.9 million residents of Puerto Rico.
  • About one of every two people added to the nation’s population between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, was Hispanic. There were 1.4 million Hispanics added to the population during the period.
  • There was a 3.3 percent increase in the Hispanic population between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007, making Hispanics the fastest-growing minority group.
  • The projected Hispanic population of the United States on July 1, 2050, is 102.6 million. According to that projection, Hispanics will constitute 24 percent of the nation’s population by that date.
  • The nation’s Hispanic population during the 1990 Census was 22.4 million — less than half the current total.
  • The U.S. has the second largest Hispanic population worldwide, as of 2007. Only Mexico (108.7 million) had a larger Hispanic population than the United States (45.5 million). (Spain had a population of 40.4 million.)
  • Of Hispanic-origin people in the United States, 64 percent are of Mexican background. Another nine percent are of Puerto Rican background, with 3.4 percent Cuban, 3.1 percent Salvadoran, and 2.8 percent Dominican. The remainder are of some other Central American, South American, or other Hispanic or Latino origin.
  • The median age of the Hispanic population in 2007 was 27.6. This compares with 36.6 years for the population as a whole.
  • In 2007, there were 107 Hispanic males for every 100 Hispanic females. That was in sharp contrast to the overall population, which had 97 males for every 100 females.
  • There were 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002.
  • The rate of growth of Hispanic-owned businesses tripled between 1997 and 2002 (31 percent ) compared with the national average (10 percent) for all businesses.
  • In 2002, Hispanic-owned businesses generated $222 billion, up 19 percent from 1997.
  • Of all Hispanic-owned firms, 44.6 percent were owned by Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and Chicanos.
  • There are 29,168 Hispanic-owned firms with receipts of $1 million or more.
  • Retail and wholesale trade accounted for nearly 36 percent of Hispanic-owned business revenue.
  • Of Hispanics who are age 16 and older, 68 percent are in the civilian labor force.
  • Of Hispanics who are 16 or older, 17 percent work in management, professional, and related occupations. Roughly the same percentage work in construction, extraction, maintenance, and repair occupations (although this percentage is significantly lower than for those in management, professional, and related occupations). Approximately 24 percent of Hispanics age 16 or older work in service occupations; 22 percent in sales and office occupations; two percent in farming, fishing, and forestry occupations; and 18 percent in production, transportation, and material moving occupations.
  • There are 82,500 Hispanic chief executives. In addition, 46,200 physicians and surgeons, 53,600 postsecondary teachers, 43,000 lawyers, and 5,700 news analysts, reporters, and correspondents are Hispanic.
  • There are 1.1 million Hispanic veterans of the U.S. armed forces.