Diverse crown on the Oceanside Pier
A diverse crowd on the Oceanside Pier. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The first thing a Hispanic writer or journalist discovers is that non-Hispanic writers and journalists have no clue about Hispanics.

Every presidential election, analysis of the Hispanic vote for President is looked at by people who have no clue about how to analyze the Hispanic vote to begin with because they know so little about the people they are writing about.

First, consider the diversity in the Hispanic community, which of course you can also call the Latino community.

What you can’t call it is the Latinx community. Six out of ten prefer to be called Hispanic or Latino. Between 2% and 4% prefer the newly invented word “LatinX.” 

Cubans refuse to accept anything but Cuban or Hispanic. It’s the same with Puerto Ricans as well as most Mexican Americans.

The 2020 Census reported these numbers:

  • There are 62.1 million Hispanics in the United States. That’s 19% of the population, or nearly one-in-five Americans. The 2020 number is 11 million more than the 2010 census counted.
  • The top three Hispanic states are California with 15.6 million Hispanics — 39% of the state. Texas was second with 11.4 million, also 39%, and Florida third with 5.7 million, or 26%.

For those worried that English may be losing its primacy , there is this enlightening info from the Census — 72% of all Hispanics say they speak English “well.” Twenty years ago, just 59% claimed to speak English well. Among native-born Hispanics, 91% say they speak English well.

And for those concerned about educational standards, the Census reports 42% of Hispanics over 25 have attended college, compared to 36% in 2010. The percentage of Hispanics with college degrees has increased to 18% from 13% in a decade.

In fact, Hispanics now make up 19% of college students — equal to their share of the population — and are second only to Asians in entering college.

Now, who are these increasingly well educated Americans?

There’s no surprise here except to the journalists who know so little about Hispanics that they give Cubans, Puerto Ricans and other Central and South American Hispanics far more attention than  their numbers warrant. 

It’s critical to understand that people of Mexican origin are the largest Hispanic group by a wide margin. The 2020 Census reported 61.5% of the 62.1 million Hispanics are of Mexican origin.

Puerto Ricans, including 3 million in Puerto Rico, make up 9.7%; Cubans, 3.9%; Salvadorans, 3.9%; Dominicans, 3.3% and Guatemalans, 2.7%. All other identifiable Hispanic nationalities are less than 2% each.

The final 2020 Census number that is important is that four in five Hispanics are U.S. citizens, mostly born here.

So Hispanics are more numerous and better educated than ever. They are also America’s youngest ethnic group at a median age of 30.

For Pentagon watchers, one in five U.S. Marines — those in “combat arms” who carry weapons — are of Mexican origin.

America, we are here.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is a Marine Corps veteran, political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.