Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Targeting Higher Education: 2013-A Year to Be Remembered

Magazine article The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education

Targeting Higher Education: 2013-A Year to Be Remembered

Article excerpt

As Charles Dickens so dramatically wrote about the 1789 J| V French Revolution era, "It was the best of times, it was XmlJthe worst of times..

The year 2013 had its great moments and its disappointments. Hispanic Outlook chronicled many of them for us. It is good to reflect where we have been the better to understand the foundations of our future.

In January' 2013 this column addressed the issue of who actually makes up our Ilispanic/Latino population. It verified what many of us had seen. The group is far more diverse than it was a just a few decades ago. In those days the majority of Spanish-origin people living here hailed from Mexico. They resided mostly in the western part of the nation. After being conquered in 1898, Puerto Ricans began to filter in with the biggest influx being in the 1950s. Those two groups dominated the Hispanic presence for years. That changed during the last 25 years of the 20th century when Hispanics from every Latin country' came to America.

Who are they? Where did they come from, where did they settle, and what are their educational achievements?

Hispanics by Country of Origin

The 10 largest Hispanic origin groups are Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Hondurans, Ecuadorians and Peruvians.

The United States has approximately 50.7 million Hispanics. (This excludes 3.7 million living In Puerto Rico.)

Hispanics came from every latin American country. Some were here long before Anglo-Saxons arrived. The histories of Western states attest to that.

Many came planning to work for a while and return home. Some did but a large number stayed. Others fled political disturbances and hoped to return home, but didn't. Most came seeking a belter life for themselves and their children.

Two-thirds, or 33 million, self-identity as of Mexican origin and comprise the nation's largest immigrant group.

In stark contrast, Puerto Ricans, the nation's second largest Hispanic group, comprise only 9 percent of the nation's Hispanic population.

Puerto Ricans are different from other resident Hispanics in a number of ways. They were bom American citizens, most have some knowledge of English, many are bilingual, and they did not flee political persecution and can travel back and forth whenever they desire. Given air travel many visit their island several times a year.

Political scientists have noted this has meant that many have not fully integrated into the mainland society. Many do not vote and dream of the day when they will return to the island, buy a little farm and live the good life their parents dreamed of. Very few actually do. But the dream persists and keeps them from fully embracing their new home. But that's changing - especially among the generations bom stateside.

The 10 largest Hispanic groups comprise 92 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population. Six of them have populations greater than 1 million.

All 10 have specific characteristics which differentiate them in significant ways. For instance, Hispanics of Mexican origin have the lowest median age (25 years) while CubanAmericans have the highest median age (40 years).

Colombians arc the most likely to have a college degree (32 percent). Salvadorans are die least likely at 7 percent.

Ecuadorians enjoy the highest annual household income ($50,000) while Dominicans have the lowest ($34,000). Half of Hondurans do not have health insurance, the highest share among all Hispanics.

Geographic Distributions

Hispanics have settled everywhere following employment opportunities. Like other immigrants they tended to cluster together. There was comfort, security and assistance in such enclaves.

Mexicans, Salvadorans and Guatemalans are largely concentrated in Western states. Cubans, Colombians, Hondurans and Peruvians are concentrated in Southern states. The largest numbers of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Ecuadorians reside in the Northeast. …

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