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What Is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

This week’s entrepreneur has been building to this moment for a couple of years now: a 5-part celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month titled Juntos PDX. What is Hispanic Heritage Month, why is it important, and why should an entrepreneur care? Hispanic Heritage Month observation started in the United Stated in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and expanded under President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover the span of September 15 – October 15 which became law on August 17, 1988. September 15 is unique because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua - Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence the following days, September 15, 18 and 21, respectively. The Hispanic/Latino reported population in 2020 was 62.1 million, which includes people of any race, and that is why Hispanic Heritage is important. Without getting into too much detail, race describes physical traits and ethnicity refers to cultural identification. Hispanics are diverse. Most people think of the white or light skin Hispanics but forget about the Asian, Black, and Indigenous Latinos. New American Economy research fund found Hispanic households earned more than $1.2 trillion and paid almost $309 billion in taxes in 2019. The 62 million Hispanics in the United States made up 18.7 percent of the entire United States population, making them the largest ethnic group in the country. Some states, including South Dakota and Vermont, saw population growth within their Hispanic community grow by 67 percent or more between 2010 and 2020. In North Dakota, the Hispanic population increased an astonishing 148.1 percent from that same time period. Now those alarmed by immigration allow me to point out that more than 90% of the growth in the Hispanic population between 2010 and 2019 were among US born Hispanics. As I mentioned the Hispanic households earn more than $1.2 trillion, which turned into $910 billion in spending power – that is money still held after the $308.5 billion in taxes.



According to the New American Economy report, “The Economic Contributions of Hispanic Americans”, Hispanic immigrants are significantly more likely to be entrepreneurs than the general U.S. population. During a time where most industries in the U.S. are experience staffing shortages, the Hispanic workers account for 3 in 10 workers in the agriculture and construction industries, and 1 in 4 workers in the hospitality and food service industries nationwide, and that is why an entrepreneur should care. More than 12 percent of all Hispanic immigrant workers worked for their own businesses in 2019, accounting for more than 2.5 million Hispanics entrepreneurs in the United States. Hispanic Americans make just 73 cents for every dollar earned by White Americans. Research concludes that to be collectively $288 billion in underpaid Hispanics pay annually. Hispanics should be generating an additional $2.3 trillion in total revenue annually, and 735,000 new businesses supporting 6.6 million new jobs if not for major disparities between Latino and white-owned businesses, according to McKinsey & Company, “The economic stat of Latinos in American: The American dream deferred”



By 2060, Hispanics may account for 30 percent of the entire labor force. Hispanics will continue to become more integrated into the US economy. Hispanic Heritage is more than just Taco Tuesday or mixing margaritas. It is about recognizing the diversity of the Hispanic race, acknowledging their contributions to our communities and economy, and welcoming and embracing their culture as they have embraced the American culture. Knowledge is power. As Mariah Ore so elegantly put it, “cultural awareness necessitates respect, and in turn, of coming together to celebrate our diverse backgrounds. All Americans, not only Hispanics/Latinos, owe respect to the Hispanic/Latino heritage.” For roughly 30 days we welcome everyone to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage. Ask about the culture, the food, the language. I encourage you to find inspiration within each other. After all, no matter our race, religion, pigment, or sexual orientation, we are all entrepreneurs. A community of global entrepreneurs.

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