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Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month

September 15th – October 15th, 2013

Photo: Older Hispanic coupleIn September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. The observance was expanded in 1989 by Congress to a month long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). We celebrate the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

September 15th 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 16th and 18th, respectively.

Definition

In the 2010 Census, Hispanic or Latino is defined as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race."

In data collection and presentation, federal agencies are required to use a minimum of two ethnicities: "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino".

For more information see 2010 Census Brief [PDF - 1.68MB].

Photo: Young Hispanic boy on a playground swing Demographics

According to US Census Bureau’s population estimates as of July 1, 2012, there are roughly 53 million Hispanics living in the United States. The population size represents approximately 17% of the US total population, making people of Hispanic origin the nation's largest ethnic or racial minority.

The projected US Hispanic population for July 1, 2060 is estimated to reach 128.8 million, approximately 31% of the US population in that year.

In 2011, Mexicans represented the largest subpopulation (65%) of Hispanic. Following Mexicans were Puerto Ricans (9.4%), Salvadorans (3.8%), Cubans (3.6%), Dominicans (3.0%), and Guatamalans (2.3%). The remaining populations (12.9%) were people of Central and South America or of other Hispanic or Latino origins.

In 2011, 22.5% of elementary and high school students were Hispanic, and only 14.5% of college students were Hispanic.

As of July 1, 2012, the state with the largest number of Hispanics (14.5 million) was California, and the state with the largest percentage of Hispanics (47%) was New Mexico.

The percentage of Hispanics who lacked health insurance in 2011 was 30.1%.

Examples of Important Health Disparities Experienced by Hispanics/Latinos


CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report

Graphic: Family silhouettesThe CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report - United States, 2011 (CHDIR), provides analysis and reporting of the recent trends and ongoing variations in health disparities and inequalities in selected social and health indicators, both of which are important steps in encouraging actions and facilitating accountability to reduce modifiable disparities by using interventions that are effective and scalable.

Examples of some of the important health disparities noted in the CHDIR:

  • Among males aged <20 years, the prevalence of obesity was largest among Mexican-Americans compared with non-Hispanic white or black children and teens. Among females >20 years, Mexican Americans had the second largest prevalence of obesity. The prevalence was second to the prevalence among non-Hispanic black females.
  • In 2008, Hispanic adults were among adults who had the largest age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes. Prevalence was similar to that among Black and Asian adults and larger than the prevalence among white adults.
  • In 2008, Hispanics experienced the second largest rate of HIV diagnoses compared with the white population. The Hispanic diagnoses rate was second to the African American rate.
  • In 2008, the birth rate for Hispanic adolescents aged 15-19 years was nearly 5 times the rate for Asian/Pacific Islander adolescents, 3 times the rate for non-Hispanic white adolescents, and 1.2-1.3 times rates for non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents.
  • Photo: Young Hispanic family smilingDuring 2004-2007, the rate of preventable hospitalizations among Hispanics was in excess of the rate among non-Hispanic whites.
  • Hispanics had larger uninsured rates in 2008 compared with non-Hispanic whites.
  • Lower influenza vaccination coverage was observed among Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic whites during the 2009-10 influenza season.
  • Similar to non-Hispanic blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives in 2009, Hispanics had a larger percentage of householders living in inadequate housing compared with non-Hispanic whites.
  • Compared with non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics were more likely to reside in counties that did not meet the standard for ozone.
  • In 2009, Hispanic adults were most likely not to have completed high school compared with any other racial population and equally likely as non-Hispanic Blacks or American Indian/Alaska Natives to live below poverty

For More Information, See the CHDIR Website.

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