What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month

From San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP

The Hispanic Heritage observance began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The September 15th date is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, indigenous peoples day which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Quick Facts: This year’s theme – Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving Our Nation – invites us to reflect on Hispanic Americans’ service and contributions to the history of our Nation.

As of July 1, 2018, the Hispanic population of the United States was 59.9 million people, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority (18.3% of the total U.S. population). Additionally:

  • The United States has the 2nd largest population of Hispanic people in the world, second only Mexico.
  • 63.9% were of Mexican background, 9.5% Puerto Rican, 3.8% Salvadoran, 3.7% Cuban, 3.2% Dominicano, and 2.4% Guatemalan.
  • Ten states have over 1 million Hispanic residents: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York & Texas.
  • 1.2 million Hispanics are Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • 3.3 million businesses in the U.S. were Hispanic-owned (in 2012).