Hispanic Heritage Month 2017: 8 Surprising Facts About Latinos In The US

Hispanic Heritage Month
Photo shows a member of the Nicaraguan national folk ballet performing. ELMER MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Every year, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept 15 to Oct 15. While the "month" spans through two calendar months, it is observed to recognize the Hispanic and Latino American heritage, culture and contributions. Here are eight amazing facts about the Hispanic community in the United States:

1. Hispanics are no longer the fastest growing minority group. Latinos are no longer be the fastest growing minority group in the United States -- according to data from the United States Census Bureau, while non-Hispanic whites are still the largest racial group in the country (197.8 million), Asians were the fastest growing minority group in the United States in 2013 -- but that's not to say they won't be the predominant minority group in the future. Currently, there are 54 million Hispanics in the United States -- that's 17 percent of the nation's population -- which makes Latinos the largest growing minority group. What's more, recent findings by the Pew Research Center cite that at least one-in-five public school kindergartners are Latino, which hints at the Latino-dominant future demographic of the US.

2. Hispanics influence food culture. Data from The NPD Group has found that one of the areas the U.S. will see the biggest change over the next five years, courtesy of the rising minority population, is its food culture. In their report -- titled "The Future of Eating: Who’s Eating What in 2018?" -- the authors of the report reveal that the future generation will opt for "from-scratch preparation" over prepackaged box foods from the grocery store. What's more, the report finds that food culture will grow by 8 percent, the implementation of healthy additives in meals will grow by 8 percent, and there will be an emphasis on preparing fresh breakfast foods that require more prep and cooking time.

3. Hispanics are more open to mobile technology. A study from PricewaterhouseCoopers has found that Hispanics, which make up 16.7 percent of the U.S. population according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are more open to mobile technology than non-Hispanics. Some key findings include: Hispanics are more likely to access coupons and banking services through mobile devices, 65 percent of Hispanic respondents conduct banking (ex. check their balance, pay a bill or make a transaction) from their mobile device but only 53 percent of non-Hispanic respondents do the same, Hispanic consumers use mobile payments at higher rates (24 percent) than non-Hispanic consumers (13 percent) and Hispanic consumers text more and use location-based apps more than non-Hispanics.

4. Immigration is not the biggest issue for Hispanics. The Pew Research Center has found in a recent survey the most pressing issue in the Hispanic community is education, followed by jobs and the economy and healthcare. That's not to say immigration reform isn't important to the Latino community -- one-third of the Hispanic population that was surveyed said immigration was an "extremely important" issue and in 2013, seven out of ten Latinos said Congress needed to pass new immigration legislation. But of the immigrant population -- which is the largest growing in the United States -- other social issues are deemed more important.

5. Hispanics have significant consumer buying power. A St. Louis Federal Reserve study found that by 2025, the Hispanic community living in the United States could see a spike in wealth. Specifically, the study finds that if the economic trends of the past two decades are to hold up, then Hispanics could see their wealth triple in the next ten-some years owning anywhere between $2.5 trillion to $4.4 trillion.

6. Hispanics are grossly underrepresented in the entertainment industry. Latinos buy 25 percent of all movie tickets in the United States but they are underrepresented in the entertainment industry, according to a study from Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. It discovered that Latino presence in the English-language media was minimal and even more shockingly, that there was a smaller scope for Latinos than there was 70 years ago. And while there has been an increase of Latinos in front of and behind the camera, many of the roles are highly stereotyped with “either hyper-sexualized, as comic relief, and/or cheap labor.”

7. Hispanics enjoy shopping more than other races. The authors of a recent study -- Fashion leadership, shopping enjoyment, and gender: Hispanic versus, Caucasian consumers׳ shopping preferences -- from SUNY Buffalo State and University of North Texas found that Hispanics are more likely to be fashion leaders than their Caucasian peers and they also conveyed higher levels of shopping enjoyment than Caucasians as well. Within genders, the study found that women are more interested in fashion and display higher levels of shopping enjoyment than men.

8. There's an advantage to speaking Spanish! Researchers from the University of Vermont have found an advantage and benefit of speaking Spanish. Or rather, in the way Spanish-speakers express themselves. According to the researchers, those who converse in Spanish are more positive and speak in a more positive manner than those who speak other languages. Scientist Peter Sheridan Dodds told EFE that in addition to positive content, "the emotional content of the Spanish language is the highest" amongst all the languages the researchers studied.

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Maria G. Valdez

Maria was born and raised in Dominican Republic, where she began her career in journalism covering human interest stories, entertainment, beauty and wellness for a national magazine. She moved to New York City to study Musical Theatre, but went back to journalism after graduating in an attempt of becoming the Latina Carrie Bradshaw. She has an unhealthy obsession with JLo and claims to be Sofia Vergara’s long-lost daughter, and has tried a crazy amount of treatments to keep looking young. She became a Zumba instructor for fun.

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