Hispanic Heritage Month is a month-long celebration of Hispanic and Latino history and culture. While we celebrate Hispanic and Latino communites beyond this month, from September 15 to October 15 we give extra recognition to the many contributions made to the history and culture of the United States, including important advocacy work, vibrant art, popular and traditional foods, and much more.
Hispanic Heritage Month provides an additional opportunity to explore the incredible impact Latinas and Latinos have had on the United States for generations. The Latino presence in America spans centuries, predating Spain’s colonization of what is now part of the United States, and they have been an integral part of shaping our nation since the Revolutionary War.
Through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Treaty of Paris that followed the Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars, the United States gained territories in the Southwest and Puerto Rico. This incorporated the people of this area into the United States and further expanded the presence of Hispanic Americans.
Today, the Latino population(link is external) in the United States today is over 60 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This makes up 18.9% of the total population and is the largest racial or ethnic group. Latinos continue to help fuel our economy and enrich our nation as entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, entertainers, scientists, public servants, and much more.
What is the difference between Hispanic and Latino?
Hispanic and Latino are the two most used terms to describe Americans with Latin American and Caribbean ancestry. You may often see these terms used interchangeably, but different people understand and use these terms differently. The National Museum of the American Latino uses the term “Latino” to describe the diverse residents of the United States with cultural or ancestral ties to Latin America or the Caribbean. For many, the term "Latino" also creates room for acknowledging Black, Indigenous, Asian, and other heritages on equal terms with European ancestry. The term “Hispanic” is used to signal a connection to Spain or the Spanish language.