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2016 HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH THEME
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from 15 Sept. - 15 Oct. by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 31-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17th, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12th. The term Hispanic or Latino, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” In 2014, there were 55 million U.S. Hispanics, accounting for 17 percent of the American population. The Hispanic population of the United States is projected to grow to 119 million in 2060. According to this projection, the Hispanic population will constitute 31 percent of the nation’s population by that date. Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.

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