Social Justice

10 Reasons Why Hispanics Are Important to the US

Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated in the United States from September 15th to October 15th each year, is a time to recognize and acknowledge the rich cultural contributions and history of Hispanics and Latinos. During this month-long observance, people pay tribute to the diverse cultures, traditions, and achievements of individuals and communities with roots in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

The celebration occurs during this time because it marks the anniversary of the independence of several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico's Independence Day falls on September 16th, and Chile's Independence Day is on September 18th, both of which are also celebrated during this period. Hispanic Heritage Month is an inclusive observance that welcomes people from all backgrounds to join in learning, appreciating, and celebrating the rich and diverse Hispanic culture.

Given the undeniable impact of Hispanics on the cultural, social, economic, and political fabric of the country, this is also a time to reflect on the importance of this segment and reasons why we should be celebrating them during and beyond Hispanic Heritage Month. Here are ten reasons why Hispanics and Latinos are crucial to the United States.

1. Diversity and Cultural Enrichment

Hispanics come from a wide range of countries and cultures in Latin America, bringing with them diverse traditions, languages, and customs. This diversity enriches American culture and contributes to a more vibrant and dynamic society.

2. Economic Contributions

Hispanics play a crucial role in the US economy: Hispanic consumers have a spending power of $1 trillion, and 65.6% of Hispanic adults participate in the   workforce, compared to 60% of white adults. Hispanic business owners and entrepreneurs make a tremendous impact as well: From 2007 to 2019, the number of Latino-owned businesses grew by 34% while the number of white-owned businesses fell by 7%. Contributions to various industries, including agriculture, construction, technology, and healthcare, help drive economic growth and innovation.

3. Demographic Influence

Hispanics are one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the US and have already become a majority in the two largest states in the country: California and Texas. Their population growth contributes to the overall population increase and has implications for electoral politics, consumer markets, and the labor force.

4. Political Representation 

Hispanics have been increasingly influential in American politics. They hold important political offices at the federal, state, and local levels, advocating for policies that reflect the interests and concerns of their communities. Their participation in the democratic process is essential for a representative government.

5. Social and Community Contributions

Hispanics are actively engaged in their communities and often play vital roles in community organizations, religious institutions, and social services. Their involvement strengthens social bonds and promotes a sense of belonging.

6. Educational Achievements

Many Hispanics pursue higher education, contributing to a more educated and skilled workforce. Hispanic post-secondary enrollment has more than doubled since 2000. These students’ educational achievements benefit them as individuals as well as bolstering the US’s workforce.

7. Arts, Music, and Entertainment

Hispanic culture has made a significant impact on American arts, music, and entertainment. Hispanic artists, musicians, and actors have achieved worldwide recognition and have enriched American culture with their talents and creativity.

8. Food and Cuisine

Hispanic cuisine has become an integral part of American food culture. Restaurants, food trucks, and culinary traditions from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Latin American countries have become popular across the nation, adding to the culinary diversity of the United States.

9. Bridging Language Gaps

The Spanish language, spoken by many Hispanics, has become increasingly important in a globalized world. Bilingualism and multilingualism are assets in the workforce and facilitate communication with Spanish speakers in the US and abroad.

10. Resilience and Contributions to American History 

Hispanics have a long history in the United States, dating back to the colonial period and even earlier in some regions. Their contributions to American history, including in the military, labor movements, and the fight for civil rights demonstrate their resilience and commitment to the nation.

Hispanics are an integral part of the United States, contributing to its cultural richness, economic vitality, political diversity, and social cohesion. Recognizing and valuing their contributions during Hispanic Heritage Month and year-round is essential for building a more inclusive and prosperous America.