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Facts for Features: Hispanic Heritage Month 2016

Press Release Number CB16-FF.16

In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, observed during the week that included Sept. 15 and Sept. 16. In 1989, Congress expanded the observance to a month-long celebration (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) of the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Sept. 15 is the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.


56.6 million

The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2015, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. Hispanics constituted 17.6 percent of the nation’s total population.

1.2 million

The number of Hispanics added to the nation’s population between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015. This number is nearly half of the approximately 2.5 million people added to the nation’s total population during this period.


The percentage increase in the Hispanic population between 2014 and 2015.

119 million

The projected Hispanic population of the United States in 2060. According to this projection, the Hispanic population will constitute 28.6 percent of the nation’s population by that date.


The percentage of those of Hispanic or Latino origin in the United States who were of Mexican origin in 2015. Another 9.5 percent were Puerto Rican, 3.8 percent Salvadoran, 3.7 percent Cuban, 3.3 percent Dominican and 2.4 percent Guatemalan. The remainder were of some other Central American, South American or other Hispanic or Latino origin.

States and Counties

10.7 million

The estimated population for those of Hispanic origin in Texas as of July 1, 2015.


The number of states with a population of 1 million or more Hispanic residents in 2015 — Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Texas.


The percentage of the Hispanic population in the United States that lived in California, Florida and Texas as of July 1, 2015.

15.2 million

The Hispanic population of California. This is the largest Hispanic population of any state.

4.9 million

Los Angeles County had the largest Hispanic population of any county in 2015.


Harris County in Texas had the largest numeric increase of Hispanics from 2014 to 2015.

Families and Children

16.2 million

The number of Hispanic households in the United States in 2015.


The percentage of Hispanic households that were married-couple households in 2015. Among all households in the United States, 48.2 percent were married-couple households.


The percentage of Hispanic married-couple households that had children younger than age 18 present in 2015, whereas for all married-couple households it was 64.3 percent.


The percentage of Hispanic parent/child family groups that included two parents in 2015, whereas for all parent/child family groups, it was 69.5 percent.


The percentage of Hispanic married couples with children under age 18 where both spouses were employed in 2014, whereas nationwide it was 59.7 percent.

Spanish Language

40 million

The number of U.S. residents age 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2015. This is a 131.2 percent increase since 1990 when it was 17.3 million. Those who hablan español en casa constituted 13.3 percent of U.S. residents age 5 and older. More than half (59 percent of all Spanish speakers and 57.4 percent of Hispanic Spanish speakers) spoke English “very well.”

Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over (Hispanic or Latino)

2015 American Community Survey, Table S1601


The percentage of Hispanics age 5 and older who spoke Spanish at home in 2015.

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance


The median income of Hispanic households in 2015.


The poverty rate among Hispanics in 2015.                                                                                                                                                                 


The percentage of Hispanics who lacked health insurance in 2015.



The percentage of Hispanics age 25 and older that had at least a high school education in 2015.


The percentage of the Hispanic population age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2015.

4.7 million

The number of Hispanics age 25 and older who had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2015.

1.5 million

The number of Hispanics age 25 and older with advanced degrees in 2015 (e.g., master’s, professional, doctorate).


The percentage of students (both undergraduate and graduate) enrolled in college in 2015 who were Hispanic.


The percentage of elementary and high school students that were Hispanic in 2015.



The percentage of the Hispanic population that was foreign-born in 2015.


The percentage of the 10.3 million noncitizens under the age of 35 who were born in Latin America and the Caribbean and are living in the United States in 2010-2012.



The percentage of Hispanics or Latinos age 16 and older who were in the civilian labor force in 2015.


The percentage of civilian employed Hispanics or Latinos age 16 and older who worked in management, business, science and arts occupations in 2015.



The percentage of voters in the 2012 presidential election who were Hispanic. Hispanics comprised 4.7 percent of voters in 1996.


The percentage of voters in the 2014 congressional election who were Hispanic.                         

Serving our Country

1.2 million

The number of Hispanics or Latinos age 18 and older who are veterans of the U.S. armed forces.


3.3 million

Estimated number of Hispanic-owned firms nationally in 2012, up from 2.3 million or 46.3 percent from 2007.


The estimated percentage of the 3.3 million Hispanic-owned firms that had no paid employees. Of all U.S. businesses, 80.4 percent were nonemployer firms.

$78.7 million          

The estimated sales/receipts reported by Hispanic firms owned by women in 2012. Male-owned Hispanic firms reported sales of $359.1 million.    

The following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

Black (African American) History Month (February)
Super Bowl
Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
Women's History Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
      St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
Earth Day (April 22)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
Older Americans Month (May)
Mother's Day
Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
Father's Day
The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
Back to School (August)
Labor Day
Grandparents Day
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Unmarried and Single Americans Week
Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day
The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

Page Last Revised - December 16, 2021
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