5 charts that illustrate why being Hispanic or Latino is more than speaking Spanish
Updated 6:01 AM ET, Sun October 3, 2021
(CNN)James Bosquez grew up being singled out by his cousins for only speaking English and prompting surprised looks from his peers for not getting good grades in Spanish class.
The 39-year-old standup comedian says those reactions used to bother him as a young boy, but he learned that not speaking the language didn't make him less Latino.
Bosquez represents the complexity of Latinos, a diverse group whose presence in the United States predates the country's current borders.
"We've been across the Rio Grande since my great grandmother's migrated (from Reynosa, Mexico) so we go some four of five generations," said Bosquez, who now lives in Portland.
The way Latinos self-identify, vote and speak widely varies. They are often the target of anti-immigrant taunts and face economic, health and education disparities. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they have experienced higher rates of infections as well as pay cuts and job losses.
Here's how Hispanic and Latino communities in America are far from a monolith.
Their ancestors hail from more than a dozen countries
There are 62 million people in the US who trace their ancestry or descent to Mexico, parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America as well as Spain, US Census data shows.
In the 1970s, the federal government adapted the term "Hispanic" to describe this group but a 2019 Pew Research survey found that half of Latinos in the US most often describe themselves by their family's country of origin or heritage.
While the share of Latinos of Mexican descent is considerably large with more than 37 million people, there are more than a dozen other origin groups. Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans are among some of the largest groups.