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Last Modified: July 20, 2010
Last Reviewed: July 20, 2010
Content Source:
Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities (OMHD)

Highlights in Minority Health
& Health Disparities
September/October, 2010


Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month, September 15 - October 15, 2010

grey square Introduction grey square Examples of Important Health Disparities
grey square Definition grey square For More Information
grey square Demographics grey square Sources

Heritage, Diversity, Integrigy, and Honor:
The Renewed Hope of America

Herencia, Diversidad, Integridad y Honor:
La Renovada Esperanza de America


In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a month long celebration (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). America celebrates 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.1

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.1

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines Hispanic or Latino 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". 

Starting with Census 2000, the OMB requires federal agencies to use a minimum of five race categories:

Black or African American;
American Indian or Alaska Native;
Asian; and
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. 2 

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According to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates as of July 1, 2009, there are roughly 48.4 million Hispanics living in the United States, representing approximately 15.75% of the U.S. total population, making people of Hispanic origin the nation's largest ethnic or race minority.1

The projected U.S. Hispanic population for July 1, 2050, is estimated to reach 132.8 million, constituting approximately 30% of the U.S. population by that date.1

Among Hispanic subgroups, Mexicans rank as the largest at 66%. Following Mexicans are Puerto Ricans (9%), Cubans (3.4%), Salvadorans (3.4%), Dominicans (2.8%), and the remaining 15.4% are people of Central and South America or other Hispanic or Latino origins.1

In 2009, almost 26% of children younger than 5 were Hispanic, and 22% of children under the age 18 were Hispanic.1 

States with the largest Hispanic populations are California (13.7 million), and Texas (9.1 million).1

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red arrow Private health insurance coverage among persons under age 65 was only 41.7% for Hispanics/Latinos in 2007, compared to 76.2% for non-Hispanic whites and 66.8% for the total population.
Among Hispanic/Latino subgroups, Mexicans were least likely to be insured (37.9%), while Cubans were most likely to be insured (64.8%).
red arrow Hispanic/Latina women were more than 2.3 times as likely to have late or no prenatal care (12.2%) than non-Hispanic white women (5.3%) in 2006.4
red arrow From 2000-2004, Hispanic/Latina women had the highest incidence rate for cancers of the cervix; 1.6 times higher than that for white women (Hispanic/Latinas: 13.8 per 100,000 women; Whites: 8.5).  During the same period of time, Hispanics/Latinas also had a cervical cancer death rate that was 1.4 times higher than for white women (Hispanics/Latinas: 3.3 per 100,000 deaths; Whites: 2.3).5
red arrow In 2006, the HIV/AIDS death rate was 2.5 times higher for Hispanic/Latino males (7.0 per 100,000 population) than for non-Hispanic white males (2.8), and more than 3 times higher for Hispanic/Latina females (1.9) than for non-Hispanic white females (0.6).6
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In 1999 the death rate for HIV was 32.7 per 100,000 for Puerto Ricans living on the mainland of the United States, higher than any other racial or ethnic group, more than six times the national average (5.4 per 100,000) and more than 13 times the rate for non-Hispanic whites (2.4).7
red arrow In 2007, influenza vaccination coverage among adults 18 years of age and older was 51.3% for non-Hispanic whites and 35.5% for Hispanics/Latinos. 8  In 2007, the gap for pneumococcal vaccination coverage among adults was even wider, with 62.2% for non-Hispanic whites and 31.8% for Hispanics/Latinos.9
red arrow In 2006, the diabetes death rate for Hispanics/Latinos (29.9 per 100,000 population) was almost 1.5 times higher than for non-Hispanic whites (20.4).10   Among Hispanics/Latinos, the diabetes death rate in 2000 was highest among Puerto Ricans (172), followed by the rates for Mexican Americans (122), and Cuban Americans (47).7
red arrow In 2005, Puerto Ricans (17.0) had a current asthma prevalence rate over 2.2 times higher than non-Hispanic white people (7.6) and over 1.8 times higher than non-Hispanic black people (9.4). Puerto Ricans also had the highest rate of lifetime asthma (22.0), while Mexicans had the lowest (7.3). Puerto Ricans were twice as likely to have ever been diagnosed with asthma than non-Hispanic white people (11.3). 11
red arrow In men ages 20-74 years, Mexican Americans had a higher prevalence of overweight (77.3%) and obesity (30.4%) from 2003-2006 than non-Hispanic white men (71.8% overweight; 33.0% obese) or non-Hispanic black men (71.6% overweight; 36.3% obese).12
red arrow More than 11 million people reside along the U.S.-Mexico border.  The U.S. border region contains six of eleven* of the poorest U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA).  Large population movement, limited public health infrastructure and poor environmental conditions contribute to increased risk for infectious diseases in the border region.13
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In 2000, the rate of tuberculosis (TB) was 1.7 times higher along the U.S. side of the border (10.0 per 100,000) than in the entire U.S. (6.0).14
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In 2000, the rate of Hepatitis A was 2.2 times higher along the U.S. side of the border (11.0 per 100,000) than in the entire U.S. (4.9).14
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In 2000, the rate of Hepatitis B was 2.2 times higher along the U.S. side of the border (6.3 per 100,000) than in the entire U.S. (2.9).14

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
blue sphere Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)
Health Disparities Experienced by Hispanics-United States
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
blue sphere Health of Hispanic/Latino Population, Fast Stats
blue sphere Hispanic or Latino Population, Health, United States, 2009
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP)
blue sphere Health Disparities
blue sphere HIV/AIDS among Hispanics/Latinos
Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD)
blue sphere Hispanic or Latino Populations (en Español)
blue sphere Hispanic Health Program Fact Sheets   (en Español)
blue sphere Hispanic/Latino News
blue sphere Página Principal de la OMHD
blue sphere Populations Definitions   (en Español)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC)
blue sphere Minoirty Women's Health
HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH)
blue sphere Hispanic/Latino Profile
blue sphere National Latino AIDS Awareness Day: October 15
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
blue sphere HIV/AIDS Bureau
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
blue sphere Medline Plus
Hispanic-American Health
United States-Mexico Border Health Commission
Healthy Border 2010: An Agenda for Improving Health on the United States-Mexico Border
White House Presidential Proclamations 2009
US Census Bureau
blue sphere Facts for Features, Hispanic Heritage Month, 2010

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1. U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features: Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept 15-Oct 15, 2010
2. U.S. Census Bureau, Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin, 2000
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Health, United States, 2009, table 137
4. CDC, NCHS, Health United States, 2009, table 7
5. National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), Cancer Health Disparities, Table 3 Cervical Cancer Incidence & Death Rates, 2000-2004.
6. CDC, NCHS, Health United States, 2009, table 38
7. CDC, Office of Communication (OC), Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities Fact Sheet 2004, Hispanic Health Disparities
8. CDC, NCHS, Health United States, 2009, table 84
9. CDC, NCHS, Health United States, 2009, table 85
10. CDC, NCHS, Health United States, 2009, table 26
11. CDC, NCHS, Health E-Stat, Asthma Prevalence, Health Care Use and Mortality, US, 2003-2005, Figures 1 & 3
12. CDC, NCHS, Health United States, 2009, table 72
13. CDC, OMHD, Hispanic Health program: Border Infectious Disease Surveillance (BIDS)
14. Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities (OMHD), Grantees Meeting, 2006
* The 11 poorest counties are (in order from poorest to least poor):
1. St. Bernard county, LA
        2. Cameron county, LA
        3. Loup county, NE  
      4. Plaquemines county, LA
        5. Starr county, TX

        6. Orleans county, LA
        7. Presidio county, TX
        8. Zapata county, TX

        9. Zavala county, TX
      10. Maverick county, TX
      11. Hudspeth county, TX

Bold indicates  Mexico border region.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, County and City Data Book: 2007. Table B-9

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