"Hispanic Heritage Month"—What's To Celebrate?
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(Se also by Linda Thom:  “Hispanic Heritage Month”—What’s to Celebrate? Part II: Unmarried Mothers And The Coming Underclass)

In the Civil-Rights Sixties, Congress established various ethnic heritage celebrations, including Hispanic Heritage Week, which later lengthened to a month and is now in full swing (September 15 to October 16.)

To celebrate, each year the Census Bureau releases Hispanic Heritage Fast Facts.

Here are the latest figures on the growth of Hispanic residents:

U.S. Population Change

Total U.S.

Hispanic Population

% Hispanic

















Population Increase:





In words: between 1990 and 2010, the population of the United States increased by 60 million people. Driven by lopsided immigration, Hispanics made up 28 million of those additional residents—i.e., almost half (46.8%) the country’s population increase.

The Census Bureau projects that, on our present immigration-driven course, Hispanics will comprise 30 percent of our population in 2050, at 133 million.

Obviously, “Hispanic Heritage” is very important—because Hispanics will be a big part of America’s future (unless, of course, immigration policies change).

So what is this “Hispanic heritage”?

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, one of the definitions of heritage is “something handed down from one’s ancestors or the past, as a characteristic, a culture, tradition, etc.”

So, to determine what Hispanics will be handing down to their posterity, let us look at current Hispanic culture.

  • Education

According to a recent Census Bureau Press Release, (CB11-153), “Education impacts work-life earnings five times more than other demographic factors.”

So how well are Hispanics educated?

Answer: Sadly, Hispanics on average are very poorly educated.

The table below shows numbers from the Census 2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey. (Calculations by author.) It shows the highest level of education for U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older, and breaks them out by ethnicity.


All +18 years



% Hispanic






1st – 8th grades





9th – 11 grades










Total Less than High School










Hispanics make up half of United States residents over 18 years of age with less than 8 years of school. And they make up over one-third of those with less than a high school education.  

This lack of education results in substantially lower

  • Earnings

The Census Bureau recently published an analysis of education and estimated earnings. The whole study can be read here: Education and Synthetic Work-Life Earnings Estimates, American Community Survey Reports, Issued September 2011.[ PDF]

Table One of the study shows that for those aged 25 to 64 years of age,

  • Hispanics’ median earnings are $19,934 annually;
  • Non-Hispanic Whites’ earnings are $31,461;
  • Blacks’ earnings are $21,239;
  • Asians’ earnings are $30,265;
  • other non-Hispanics’ estimated earnings are $21,699. (These, of course, are computer models of projected earnings).

In words: Hispanics are behaving like Blacks, not whites and Asians—another heavily immigrant group.

  • Poverty.

In September each year, the Census Bureau releases income and poverty statistics.  The table below shows 2010 poverty rates by race and ethnicity.


Non-Hisp. White




Poverty Rate






In words: The poverty rate for Hispanics is more than double that of non-Hispanic Whites (and Asians).

Significantly, the poverty rate for non-citizens is 26.7% and there are just 5.4 million of them according to the report. But the number of Hispanics living in poverty is 13.2 million. That means that most poor Hispanics are citizens, many of them native-born.

Note that Blacks, relatively few of whom are immigrants, have a high poverty rate. In 2010, 17 percent of Blacks over the age of 18 had less than 12 years of education. Over time, educational attainment has improved but despite long residence in this country, they still lag far behind Whites and Asians.

Question: Will Hispanics be different?

Answer: no, they won’t.

  • Maternal Education

Maternal education is one of the key variables in a child’s physical, social and economic well-being. This is true for all races and ethnicities.

Here is a link to a study entitled, Maternal Education, Home Environments and the Development of Children and Adolescents, by three British economists. [PDF]  According to the abstract, the authors studied “the intergenerational effects of maternal education on children’s cognitive achievement, behavioral problems, grade repetition and obesity.”  

Their bottom line: A good maternal education improves cognitive ability, reduces behavioral problems, reduces grade repetition, and reduces the number of teen pregnancies and the number of criminal convictions of their children. (It does not appear to affect obesity—for what that’s worth.)

The study makes for very interesting reading because the authors do not have a political agenda. The subjects of the study are British and the longitudinal data included the children, their mothers and their grandparents. (The Heritage Foundation has an abundance of literature for the U.S.).

So how well educated are Hispanic mothers? The Center for Disease Control collects data from birth certificates from all 50 states. In, Expanded Data From the New Birth Certificate, 2008, (Volume 59, Number 7) the CDC states,

“Differences among racial and Hispanic-origin groups in educational attainment are substantial. . . .When levels of secondary education are compared, 88.7 percent of white mothers had a high school diploma or higher compared with 77.3 percent of black and 56.3 percent of Hispanic mothers.

“Differences in the levels of advanced education are more pronounced. 33.9 percent of white mothers compared to 12.2 percent of black and 8.3 percent of Hispanic mothers reported having a bachelor’s degree or higher.

“Asian mothers had the highest level of advanced education with 55.2 percent reporting at least a bachelor’s degree. . . .”

In the 2008 final data published by the CDC, Table 14 shows that 41 percent of Hispanic mothers are native-born. In other words, many Hispanic mothers with dreadful educations were born and raised in the USA. Their relative educational failure is home-grown.

And how are their children performing in school?

Not well at all. The “Hispanic Heritage” release by the Census Bureau shows the ten places in the country with the highest percentage of Hispanics in 2010. Number 7 on the list is Salinas, California, with 75 percent Hispanic residents.

The California Department of Education website  shows that Salinas High School total enrollment is 2,563 students—of which 82% (1,547) are Hispanic. Of the non-English-speaking students, just 525 speak Spanish. So most of the Hispanic students speak English, meaning they are almost certainly U.S.-born.

The “No Child Left Behind” tests in California are called STAR. The California state website shows that in English/Language Arts, only 32 % of Hispanic students at Salinas High School scored proficient or above. Only 16% scored proficient in math; 37% in science and 30% in history and social sciences.

Every other racial and ethnic group scored considerably higher than Hispanics.

Salinas is not an aberration. Thus Oxnard, California, is number 8 on the Census list of the ten highest percentages of Hispanic residents. And the Oxnard school numbers are equally appalling.

Oh, by the way, Oxnard has a gang problem—just like that in Salinas.

Conclusion: Hispanics, both foreign and native-born, are not faring well.

And their children are not faring well.

And their grandchildren are not faring well.

That is the “Hispanic Heritage”.

On our present course, Hispanic immigrants and their descendants will be a huge underclass in 2050.

America does not need a second underclass.

America needs an immigration moratorium—now.

Linda Thom [email her] is a retiree and refugee from California. She formerly worked as an officer for a major bank and as a budget analyst for the County Administrator of Santa Barbara.

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