Who are Latinos? – Demographics and history

By Rob Coven | August 16, 2011

Latinos, also called Hispanics here in the U.S. include diverse people who originate from Spanish speaking countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain. The recent rapid growth of the Latino population should not overshadow the long history and presence of Latinos in the United States This is particularly the case among Mexicans who originally became part of the United States with the annexation of Texas in 1845 and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in which Mexico ceded much of what is the U.S. Southwest today at the end of the war between the two countries in 1848.

The names of cities throughout the Southwest along with the cuisine and architecture of the region evince the deep historical roots of Mexicans in the area. Similarly, Puerto Ricans became linked to the United States in 1898 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris at the end of the Spanish-American War and were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917.

Nonetheless, a significant share of the Latino population has immigrated to the United States only recently. This combination of deep historical ties with recent immigration results in great diversity within the Latino population on the basis of national origin, generational status, language, racial and ethnic identification, and socioeconomic status. Mexicans are the largest segment of the Latino population in the United States, accounting for two-thirds of Latinos in 2009.

The 10-largest segments of the Latino population include:

  • Mexican (31,689,879)
  • Puerto Rican (4,426,738)
  • Salvadoran (1,718,494)
  • Cuban (1,696,141)
  • Dominican (1,356,361)
  • Guatemalan(1,081,858)
  • Colombian (899,478)
  • Honduran (631,510)
  • Spaniard (613,211)
  • Ecuadorian (605,564).

Together, the 10  groups represented 94 percent of all Latinos.

source prb.org


Rob Coven is president and founder of Market To Latinos an online, Spanish language based, marketing and consulting company. He has been working and living with the Spanish speaking and Latino community since 1984. He writes blogs and shares important articles and research on the Spanish speaking population in the U.S. and abroad. Call Rob at 706-850-7555 or info@MarketToLatinos.com.

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