National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15 – October 15

In 1968, the U.S. Congress declared that the week of September 15 would be National Hispanic Week in honor of Hispanic Americans. Twenty years later the period was expanded, and now Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 until October 15. During this time, Americans have a chance to look back at the contributions Hispanics (or Latinos) have made to United States history and culture and to look forward to the growing role Hispanics will play in our nation’s future. September 15 was chosen because it was on that date in 1821 that the Central American nations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua achieved their independence from Spain. Also, September 16, 1810, was when Mexico declared its independence from Spain, with Chile doing the same two days later.

Hispanic Americans are any U.S. residents who trace their ancestry to Spain, Mexico, or any of the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. During the 1990s, the number of Hispanic Americans grew by 35 percent. Today there are about 58 million Hispanics living in the United States, making up nearly 18 percent of our nation’s population. That number is expected to continue to grow in the coming decades, with some experts projecting that by the year 2050, Hispanics will make up almost one-fourth of the U.S. population. Most Hispanic Americans—almost two-thirds—are of Mexican descent, while about one-tenth are of Puerto Rican descent. Today, Hispanics occupy all walks of American life, and the influence of Hispanic culture can be found in popular American food, music, and literature.

Related Links

  • National Hispanic American Heritage Month
    This website is sponsored jointly by the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month Fun Facts
    From the U.S. Census Bureau, this “Fun Facts” page features a wealth of statistical data on the Hispanic American population.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
    Explore history, people, events, and fun facts related to the Hispanic heritage of the United States.

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