Hispanics or Latinos are persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The federal government considers race and Hispanic origin to be two separate and distinct concepts; Hispanic-Americans may be any race. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Hispanics of all races represent 13.3 percent of the U.S. population, about 37.4 million individuals. The Census Bureau projects that by the year 2040 there will be 87.5 million Hispanic individuals, comprising 22.3 percent of the population. Though Hispanic communities can be found throughout Florida, the Northeast, and other parts of the country, the greatest concentrations of Hispanics are in the southwestern states from Texas to California. The states with the greatest concentration of Hispanics are New Mexico, California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Florida.
Though they share many aspects of a common heritage such as language and emphasis on extended family, Hispanic cultures vary significantly by country of origin. Hispanics tend to be younger than the white non-Hispanic population (except for Cubans, who have a higher proportion of elderly than other Hispanic groups). Their health profiles are also unique: Puerto Ricans suffer disproportionately from asthma, HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality, while Mexican-Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes. Factors that contribute to poor health outcomes among Hispanics include language and cultural barriers, lack of access to preventive care, and lack of health insurance.
For more details about Hispanic/Latino populations, see the following:
Hispanic/Latinos in the Delta Region presented August 27, 2003 to "Revisiting the Delta Project: Healthy People in a Healthy Environment"
Ten Leading Causes of Death in the U.S. in 2002 for Hispanics or Latinos:
1. Heart disease
3. Unintentional injuries
6. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
8. Chronic lower respiratory disease
9. Pneumonia and influenza
10. Birth defects
Source: Health, U.S., 2004, Table 31.
In addition, Hispanics or Latinos have disproportionately high prevalence of the following conditions and risk factors: