Discover Your Hispanic Roots

Hispanic heritage stretches back more than five centuries, bringing together millions of people with their own unique stories. Hispanic individuals have used their experiences to make scientific breakthroughs, develop new technology, negotiate peace treaties, and improve working conditions for people all over the world. They’ve also made important contributions to literature and the arts, giving everyone an opportunity to broaden their horizons and enjoy the beauty around them the Ancestry Team wrote.

As time passes, it’s easy to forget how hard your ancestors worked to preserve their cultural traditions and improve the world. That’s why it’s so important to explore your family history. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, take some time to learn about the many achievements of Hispanic individuals through the centuries.

Hispanic and Latino Heritage and History

Despite its name, Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories and achievements of two distinct groups: Hispanic individuals and Latino individuals. The term “Hispanic” relates to people and cultural practices of Spain and its former colonies in Latin American and the Caribbean.

Latino relates to the people in cultural practices of Latin America, which includes 33 countries in Central America, South America, and parts of the Caribbean. Hispanic and Latino individuals are often combined into one group and referred to a s”Hispanic,” but they have different origins and cultural traditions.

About Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month, often shortened to Hispanic Heritage Month, is an opportunity for Americans to celebrate the cultures of ancestors who lived in Mexico, Spain, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. These are just a few of the Hispanic heritage countries that celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:

  • Cuba
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Honduras
  • Guatemala
  • Chile
  • Nicaragua

How Hispanic Heritage Month Has Evolved

If you’ve never heard of Hispanic Heritage Month, you may be surprised to find that its roots stretch all the back to 1968. President Lyndon Johnson’s administration created Hispanic Heritage Week to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans. In 1988, the Reagan administration expanded it from one week into one month, scheduling it to start on September 15 and end on October 15 each year.

American politicians typically mark the occasion by drawing attention to the contributions of Hispanic Americans. For example, the President of the United States typically hosts several receptions highlighting the importance of Hispanic heritage history. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute also sponsors several events each year, such as a leadership conference featuring keynote speakers and workshops.

Key Facts About Hispanics/Latinos in the U.S.

As of 2020, the United States had 62.1 million Hispanics residents, accounting for just under 19% of the total population. Individuals of Mexican descent make up the largest portion of this group, followed by people with Puerto Rican and Central American heritage. In all, members of 19 distinct descent groups have made their home in the United States, contributing to its rich cultural landscape.

Although many Hispanic individuals settle in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, other states outside of the American southwest have seen rapid growth in their Hispanic populations. For example, a recent UCLA study noted that the Latino population living in Kentucky increased by 233% between 2000 and 2020. South Carolina and Alabama also have growth rates of over 200%. Surprisingly, North Dakota and South Dakota have experienced the fastest growth – 333% for the former and 265% for the latter.

From an economic perspective, the importance of the Hispanic and Latino communities can’t be overstated. According to the Senate Joint Economic Committee, Hispanic-owned businesses contribute approximately $800 million to the economy each year. Many Hispanic and Latino individuals start their own companies, hire workers, and make their communities better by offering high-quality products and services.

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