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Latinos: Who Are We?

Posted on May 25th, 2011 by Alejandra Okie 1 Comment

By: Alejandra Okie

Should you call us Latino?… Hispanic? (a term created by the Census Bureau)… Mexican?… Ask us and you’ll likely get many different answers.

We are:

  • The largest minority in the U.S. We make up 16 percent of the U.S. population.
  • Young. Twenty-three percent of children and youth ages 17 and younger are Latino (2010 Census).
  • Your neighbors. We don’t just live in states like Texas and California anymore. The population of Latinos in Alaska has increased by over 50 percent over the last decade (US Census Bureau). The Latino population more than doubled over the past decade in the Southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and South Carolina (2010 Census).
  • Connected. Eighty percent of U.S. born Latinos have cell phones, and 85 percent use the Internet (Pew Hispanic Center).
  • Contributing to the economy. Latinos’ buying power is more than a trillion dollars.


Our lives connect with yours every day. We are:

  • The farmworkers who pick the fruits and vegetables you ate today.
  • The cook who prepared your meal at the restaurant where you ate yesterday.
  • The owner of the business you visited this week.
  • The construction worker who helped build your house.
  • One of the judges who sits on the Supreme Court.

What do Latinos have in common?:

  • The language our ancestors spoke is Spanish.
  • Our cooking, our holiday celebrations and our family traditions have been passed down for generations. For many of us, religion is important. We express our joy and emotions through music and dancing. We love our soccer (fútbol).
  • We value family and hard work.

We are as diverse as the colors of our skin:

  • Our skin color can be white, brown, black and everything in between. Even though we are of Hispanic ethnicity, our race can be White, Black and even Asian.
  • Our Spanish accent can be heavy or nonexistent. Latinos come from many different Spanish-speaking countries in North, Central and South America, from Mexico to Argentina.
  • Some of us arrived to the U.S. as immigrants this year. Others have ancestors who lived in Texas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, as well as parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas when those lands were part of Mexico in the 1600s.
  • Some of us come to work and find a better life for our families. Others come to get a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

We have the same hopes and aspirations as everyone else in this country. We want our neighborhoods to be safe and clean. We want our family to be healthy. We want to have good paying jobs. We want our children to have the opportunity to go to college.

To find out who we really are, get to know us on a personal level. Talk to your neighbor, to the cashier at the grocery store, to the nurse at the doctor’s office.

We are Latinos. We are Hispanic. We are Los Americans.

Read more: Who is Hispanic?

Photo: NMCIL ortiz domney

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One Response

  1. Yancey Arias says:

    Is the Caribbean and East Coast Latino American included in the definition of Hispanic? =) I think I missed that in the description. I love your vision for your program. Continued success and keep the Caribbean’s
    ( Puerto Ricans, Dominican’s, Cuban’s Etc. ) in the loop as well=) Hugs, Yance

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