Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions Americans with origins in Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to U.S. society and culture.
The observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a month-long celebration from September 15 to October 15.
September 15 marks the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The designated period is also in recognition of the independence of Mexico and Chile, which are celebrated on September 16 and 18, respectively.
Hispanics represent 18.9% of the U.S. population (62.6 million) and 17.3% of the U.S. labor force, which is projected to increase by more than 30% by 2060.
Hispanics’ entrepreneurial spirit and desire for advancement are highlighted in the economic growth of their communities, as reflected in the following statistics:
4.65 Million: The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S.
Fastest growing: Latinos create more businesses per capita than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S. Over the past five years, one in 200 Latinos (0.5%) has created a new business each month, compared to 0.3% for the following largest groups (Whites and Asians).
12.5%: Annual growth in the number of Latino-owned employer firms, compared to 5.3% for white-owned employer firms.
34%: Growth in the number of Hispanic business owners over the past ten years.
45 of the 50 states saw an increase in Latino-owned businesses from 2012 to 2017. Latino-owned employer businesses are concentrated in cities and states with large, dense Hispanic populations, such as Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.
92.5% of Latino-owned businesses are sole proprietorships. Latinos are more likely to be sole proprietors.
112,451: The number of Hispanic agricultural producers in the U.S., according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture.
13%: The number of Hispanic farmers increased between 2012 and 2017.
7%: The average annual growth in Latino wealth over the past 20 years is more than double the wealth of non-Latino whites.
$36,000: The median wealth of Latino households. It is only one-fifth of the $188,200 owned by non-Latino white Americans.
Sources: U.S. Census, USDA, McKinsey & Company, “The economic state of Latinos in America: The American dream deferred.”