did you know? latino edition


Some nuggets of info to help us better comprehend the Latino community.


Before you proceed note that my use of Latino as opposed to Hispanic is intentional. Latino is a more egalitarian term than Hispanic. It is less exclusionary. The lesser of multiple evils. :-)


Whereas the term Hispanic, coined by the US Census Bureau during the late sixties, refers to the origin of our common language – Castillian Spanish, it does so by intentionally excluding our ethnic heritage — Native American and African in addition to Spanish. FYI, I use Native American as a term that includes all native, indigenous peoples of the Americas – North, Central, South and the Caribbean.


Latino pays homage to everything that has formed me as a Latino; the Taino, African and Spanish cultures. It attempts to remind us that we descend from the Persians, the Arawak, the Spanish and the many other cultures, ethnicities, races and peoples that coalesced into modern day Latinos.


By the way, persons of Latin-American extraction do not commonly refer to themselves as Latinos or Hispanics. We are simply Puerto Rican, Mexican, Colombian or one of the other 22 Latin American nationalities. It is when we arrive in these United States that we become Latino.


And now, let’s arm you with some tools that will you some bar bets. Did you know?…  


There are an estimated 45.5 million Latinos in the United States; the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority.


This constitutes 15 percent of the nation’s total population; this does not take into account the 3.9 million residents of Puerto Rico.


The United States is the second largest Latino country in the world! Think about that one for a moment — mind-blowing isn’t it! Only Mexico (108 million) has a larger Latino population than the United States (45.5 million). Spain has a population of 40 million.


Nearly 67 million people of Latino origin are expected to be added to the nation’s population by 2050. This would increase the Latino population in the United States to approximately 102 million or 24 percent of the nation’s projected population.


56% of Latinos were born in the United States; 44% of Latinos are foreign born.

31% of Latinos are not United States citizens; 29% of foreign-born Latinos are naturalized U.S. citizens


In Chicago, there are an estimated 775,000 thousand Latinos; the city’s largest ethnic or race minority. This constitutes 28 percent of the city’s total population.


There are an estimated 200,000 undocumented Latino immigrants in the Chicago metropolitan area.


In Chicago, 70% of Latinos came from Mexico; 15% came from Puerto Rico. The rest came from Central and South America (mostly from Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala and Colombia).


US-born Latinos out-number and outpace new immigrants. 70% of the growth in the Chicago Latino community is because of births rather than immigration.


This is a very young community. 49% are under the age of 18; the number is 27% for the general population.


The median age is 27.6 years; the population as a whole has a median age of 36.6 years. 



You want family values? Latinos are the true keepers of the family values stereotypes, we are very family oriented. 46% of all Latinos in the United Status are married; this compares to 37% for the overall population of this nation.


Only 6.5% of Latinos are divorced; this compares to 9% for the overall population of this nation.


80% of Latinos live in a family household (as opposed to alone or with non-family roommates); this compares to 58% for the general United States population.


There are some 3,500 same-sex (LGBT) Latino couple households in the Chicago area.


Se habla español. Approximately 89% of Latinos over the age of 5 speak Spanish at home; 11% speak only English.



The unemployment rate for Latinos is 5.6%; the general population is unemployed at 6.4% rate.


Latinos account for 85 percent of the growth in the Chicago area’s labor force.



What mortgage problem? 47% of Latinos own a home; this compares to 49% for the general population.


The average value of Latino homes is $285,800; it is $277,900 for the general population.


Latinos are flocking to the Chicago suburbs, where the Latino population has grown by at least 250,000 since 2000; this brings the total Latino population in the six-county region to 1.7 million, 20 percent of the population.


Top 10 Chicago neighborhoods with the highest concentration of Latino residents:

  • Lower West Side (includes Pilsen and Heart of Chicago) – 88%
  • McKinley Park – 85%
  • Hermosa – 85%
  • Gage Park – 83%
  • Brighton Park – 82%
  • South Lawndale (includes Little Village) – 80%
  • Logan Square – 71%
  • Belmont Cragin – 71%
  • East Side – 70%
  • Avondale – 70%


Approximately 1.1 million Latinos have served or are serving in the U.S. armed forces.


Most Latinos vote Democrat. Latinos are becoming more politically involved; Young Latinos in Chicago are registering to vote at four times the rate of their peers across the country.



Sources: US Census Bureau, United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, Center for Metropolitan Chicago Initiatives at Notre Dame University’s Institute of Latino Studies, Metro Chicago Information Center