Hispanic Heritage Month takes place every year between September 15 and October 15. Although it is set aside for the nation to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans, the nationwide festivities are really about celebrating who we are as a country.
With its diverse food, music and language, the Hispanic culture is an integral part of the social and cultural fabric of the United States.
Below you’ll find some interesting facts about the Hispanic community, which continues to grow in both numbers and contributions to the social, economic and cultural life in the United States.
Population and language
Key Facts: Hispanics are the largest minority group in the country with more than 50.5 million people, or 16.3 percent of the population. 35 million people speak Spanish at home and more than half of those say they speak English “very well,” according to the Census Bureau.
Did you know?: The Federal Government launched the Spanish-language portal GobiernoUSA.gov in 2003 to provide meaningful and useful information for people with limited English proficiency. It’s the sister site of USA.gov. Both portals centralize information on federal programs and services.
Key Facts: Several Hispanic last names make the list of the top 15 most common last names in the United States. The most popular Hispanic last name was Garcia, in eighth place, according to the 2000 Census. Rodríguez, Martínez and Hernández took the ninth, 11th and 15th places, respectively.
Did you know?: You must let the Social Security Administration know if you change your name. Otherwise the agency will not properly record your earnings, which might affect your Social Security benefits.
Key Facts: There are currently more than 1.33 million Hispanics serving in the nation’s Armed Forces. Additionally, there are about 1.1 million Hispanics 18 years or older who are veterans of the Armed Forces.
Did you know?: Almost all males who live in the United States and are between the ages of 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service, even those who lack proper immigration documents. This is required so that the country knows who it can enlist in case of a national emergency. Individuals who don’t register could lose government benefits or even be denied a job.
Key Facts: Hispanics are businesspeople. The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States grew by 43.7% from 2002 to 2007, according to the latest census figures. The rate of growth was double that of the rest of the population.
Did you know?: The Small Business Administration offers business training as well as a wide range of financing programs to help all small businesses. The agency also has programs designed to help minority businesses, including those owned by Hispanics and women.
Key Facts: At the time of the last Census, 63% percent of Hispanics 25 and older had at least a high school education. Also, 14% of Hispanics 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree.
Did you know?: The federal government offers financial assistance such as loans and scholarships to people who want to go to college. Help is provided through Federal Student Aid, an office of the Department of Education.