September 15, 2009
CONTACT: Ruth E. Zambrana
Professor of Women’s Studies
Director, Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity
University of Maryland, College Park
and Laura A. Logie
Assistant Director, Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity
University of Maryland, College Park
Changing the Face of America: Latino/Hispanic Families
Over the last 30 years the Latino/Hispanic population in the United States has grown seven times faster than the population of the nation as a whole. Hispanics currently represent almost 15 percent of the U.S. population and within the next two decades are expected to constitute a full quarter of Americans. Although often treated as a monolithic ethnic group, Latina/os differ in their racial and ethnic identities, religious beliefs, health status, socioeconomic status, and language patterns. Lumping ALL these groups under the rubric of “Latino” or “Hispanic” masks important demographic and socioeconomic differences and perpetuates negative stereotypes.
Latina/os are a Mosaic of People
The Hispanic/Latino montage represents 43 Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Hondurans, Cubans, Dominicans, Costa Ricans, Salvadorans, Colombians, Bolivians, Guatemalans, and Peruvians. Latina/os are a diverse mixture of European, indigenous, American Indian, and African backgrounds.
Immigration: 7 of every 10 Latinos are currently U.S. citizens, either by birth or by naturalization
Contemporary Latino communities are a complex mix of native-born and immigrant families. Approximately 60 percent of all Latinos were born in the United States and are therefore U.S. citizens by birth. Another 10 percent were foreign-born and have since become naturalized citizens. People born in Puerto Rico are considered native born because they are U.S. citizens by birth.
A majority (52 percent) of the nation’s 16 million Hispanic children are now “second generation,” meaning they are the U.S.-born sons or daughters of at least one foreign-born parent, typically someone who came to this country in the immigration wave from Mexico, Central America and South America that began around 1980. And 37 percent are “third generation or higher” — meaning they are the U.S.-born children of U.S.-born parents and often U.S.-born grandparents as well.
Latino Families DO Speak English
The majority of U.S. Latinos were born in the continental United States, and their first language is English. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of U.S Latino’s do not need to learn English through somewhere like AJ Hoge’s Effortless English Club, though there are some that do, and many more people of other nationalities that learn English way. About 31 million United States residents speak Spanish at home- making Spanish the second-most spoken language in the country. But according to the U.S. Census Bureau, a majority of those who speak languages other than English at home report themselves already proficient in English, and young immigrants (those ages 5 to 17) almost always speak English over their native tongues by adulthood.
Latino Families Care about Education
A commonly-held stereotype is that Latino parents do not value education. However, one recent study found that 95 percent of Latino parents believe it s important for their children to attend college, compared to 78 percent of Whites and 94 percent of Blacks. And 94 percent of Latino parents report that they have a lot or some influence over their children’s education, compared to 88 percent of Whites and 91 percent of Black parents.
One out of Every Two Latinos is a Homeowner
Over half of Mexican Americans own their own home. By 2012, it is estimated that 40 percent of the nation’s first-time homebuyers in the United States will be Hispanic.
19.5 Million Latinos Vote
The number of Latino eligible voters increased 21.4% between 2004 and 2008, the largest percentage increase of any group, and a rate of growth that outstripped the increase in the adult Latino population overall, which was only 13.7%.
About the Authors
Ruth E. Zambrana is Professor of Women’s Studies and Director of The Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland, College Park. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and 301.405.3447. Laura A. Logie is Assistant Director of The Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity at the University of Maryland, College Park. Contact her at email@example.com and 301.405.1651.
For Further Information
For further information on Latinos’ diverse experiences in a changing America, contact the Pew Hispanic Center at 202.419.3606 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Founded in 2001, the Pew Hispanic Center is a nonpartisan research organization that seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos’ growing impact on the nation.
For further information on gender and generational issues, family separations and reunifications during migration, acculturation stresses, and trans national families, contact Dr. Falicov, Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego: email@example.com, 619.683.7755.
For further information on health care access and health disparities, Latino family health, immigant families in the USA, refugee families, and collaborative health care including use of social media, contact Dr. Bacigalupe, Associate Professor and Family Therapy Program Director, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Boston: Gonzalo.firstname.lastname@example.org, 617.872.3249.
For further information on immigrant teens as well as on domestic violence and prevention, contact Etiony Aldarondo, Associate Dean for Research and Director, Dunspaugh-Dalton Community and Educational Well-Being Research Center, School of Education, University of Miami: email@example.com, 305.284.4372. Dr. Aldarondo is speaking at the CCF April 2010 conference on “Real and Imaginary Borders: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in the US.”
The Council on Contemporary Families is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best-practice findings about American families. Our members include demographers, economists, family therapists, historians, political scientists, psychologists, social workers, sociologists, as well as other family social scientists and practitioners. Founded in 1996 and based at the University of Miami, the Council’s mission is to enhance the national understanding of how and why contemporary families are changing, what needs and challenges they face, and how these needs can best be met.
To learn more about other briefing papers and about our annual April conferences, including complimentary press passes for journalists, contact Stephanie Coontz, CCF’s Director of Research and Public Education at firstname.lastname@example.org.