15 Facts & Stats for Hispanic Heritage Month

As we enter into Hispanic Heritage Month, here are some interesting nuggets of info about the history and evolution of Hispanics in America.

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place every year in the U.S. from September 15 to October 15. This celebration was started in 1968 to recognize and honor the histories, contributions and cultures of Hispanics in the United States.

Why Does Hispanic Heritage Month Start on September 15?

September 15 was chosen as the start of Hispanic Heritage Month because it’s the anniversary of independence for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cost Rica, Honduras and Guatemala. The independence days of Mexico (September 16), Chile (September 18), and Belize (September 21) are also close by.

This celebration of Hispanic heritage began as a week when President Lyndon Johnson originally observed it back in 1968. Legislation was passed to extend it to a month in 1988.

Fifteen Fascinating Facts About U.S. Hispanics

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we pulled together a list of 15 different facts you may not know about U.S. Hispanics…

  1. The U.S. government first adopted the term “Hispanic” in the 1970s, and started using it on the U.S. Census in 1980. The government adopted the term “Latino” in 1997 and started using it on the 2000 Census.
  1. The terms Hispanic and Latino tend to be used interchangeably in the United States for people with origins in Spanish-speaking or Portuguese-speaking countries
  1. Contrary to popular belief, Hispanic is an ethnicity not a race (race is associated with biology, whereas ethnicity is associated with culture)
  1. There are 12.2 million Hispanic family households in the United States (as of 2014)
  1. The U.S. Hispanic population increased by 1.15 million from July 2013 and July 2014 (in comparison, the total U.S. population only increased by 2.36 million in that time)
  1. There are 16 states with at least 500,000 Hispanic residents (as of 2014)
  1. There are approximately 15 million Hispanics living in California (the highest population of any state)
  1. 64% of U.S. Hispanics are of Mexican background (as of 2013)
  1. 5% of U.S. Hispanics are of Puerto Rican background (as of 2013)
  1. Latinos are the youngest of the major racial and ethnic groups in the U.S.
  1. The median age of U.S. Latinos is 27—a full decade younger than the median age of the U.S. population overall
  1. The number of U.S. Latinos under the age of 18 increased by 107% between 1993 and 2013
  1. 55% of Latino adults say they are Catholic
  1. There are 1.1 million Hispanic veterans of the U.S. armed forces
  1. Revenue from Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. increased 58% from 2002 to 2007 (an increase of $350.7 billion)