National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15, 2013

2013 HAHM banner

Each year from September 15 through October 15, we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. The date of September 15 was selected as it is the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This month-long celebration is designated to help celebrate the rich heritage and cultural diversity that Hispanic Americans have contributed to our country. The theme for this year’s National Hispanic Heritage Month is “Hispanics: Serving and Leading our Nation with Pride and Honor.’

Hispanic Americans are Americans who descended from or identify with Spain (Espana), while Latino Americans most often identify with Latin America. The Hispanic/Latino community is an extremely diverse population, claiming ancestry from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain, or the nations of Central or South America.

As of July, 2012, there were more than 52 million Americans who identify as Hispanic, making them the country’s largest ethnic or racial minority, which is about 17 percent of the nation’s total population. There were over 1 million Hispanics/Latinos added to the nation’s population between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012 which is close to half of the approximately 2.3 million people added to the nation’s population during that time. More than 1 million Hispanic/Latino veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces have served our country with integrity, valor, and honor.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, Hispanics also make up 23.9 percent of the nation’s elementary and high school students. In 2011, Hispanics made up 21% of all public high school student enrollments. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2036 Hispanics are projected to compose one-third of the nation’s children ages 3 to 17.

The diversity of the Hispanic/Latino community represents the strength of America, what helps makes America a great nation is the caliber of our educational system," the vitality of our capital markets and the inventiveness of our entrepreneurs. America is great because of the “promise” of America; the “dream” of America and the “hope” of America. It is with this resolve that we celebrate the heritage, diversity, integrity, and honor of our Hispanic/Latino American brothers and sisters.

The White House will honor Latin music with Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Arturo Sandoval and other musicians bringing their Latin sounds to the White House on September 16, 2013. The latest “In Performance at the White House” program will be taped Monday and will showcase Latin music during Hispanic Heritage Month. Lila Downs, Raul Malo, Price Royce, Romeo Santos, Alejandro Sanz, Natalie Cole and Marco Antonio Solis also are expected to join President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, to help highlight a variety of styles of Latin music. It is scheduled to be broadcast by PBS stations nationwide on October 8, 2013.

For more information about Hispanic/Latino culture, please visit the Special Observance section of DEOMI’s public website. To find out about activities in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, please see the following sites:


U.S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey: Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic origin; Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011 (NC-EST2011-03).

PEWResearch - Hispanic Trends Project

PBS celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 with a landmark six-part series, LATINO AMERICANS, airing Tuesdays, September 17-October 1, 2013, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET. Actor Benjamin Bratt narrates this first major television documentary series to chronicle the rich and varied history of Latinos, who have for the past 500-plus years helped shape what is today the United States and have become the country’s largest minority group.
The Smithsonian observes the federally mandated Heritage Months by hosting performances, films, discussions, and many other events in Washington, D.C.
WETA Television celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of programs on the Latino experience, past and present. These include independent films that explore Latino culture and heritage as well as programs that examine contemporary social and economic issues.