The Hispanic and Latino population of US is largely found in 10 states. Combined, the states ofFlorida, Texas, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona have about 74% of the country's Hispanic and Latino population. Although the figure has dropped a bit due to migration into other parts of the nation, their concentration remains the highest in the Southwestern region of the US. Metropolitan areas have the larger share in comparison to the rural areas. These Hispanic and Latino groups trace their roots from several Latin American countries, such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and El Salvador.
A small number of Latino and Hispanic Americans originate from other countries, including some from South America. Cultural influences and socioeconomic dynamics play a large part in the lives of Hispanic and Latino families living in the US today. The Spanish language is held crucial as a uniting aspect for all Hispanic and Latino families in the US. It is also seen as an important factor in the future career and business opportunities of many Hispanic youth. Below is an overview of the states with the largest Latino populations.
The Five States With the Largest Hispanic/Latino Populations
1. New Mexico - 48.5%
New Mexico has the largest Hispanic population in the US, at 42.1% of the state's population. People in the state have ancestry from all over Latin America, though research shows that many are descendants of the original Spanish and Mexican settlers in the area. New Mexico has a bilingual constitution, though the US Constitution does not provide for a bilingual state. Still, the state has provisions for a bilingual educational system. A unique version of Americanized Spanish is spoken by many in the state.
2. Texas - 39.1%
Texas is in second place, with about 39.1% Hispanics and Latinos among its total population. The state's official language is English, but government websites are required to have Spanish translations as well, and Spanish is spoken by about 29.21% of Texans. Religious organizations are mainly Evangelical Protestant, but there are Roman Catholics, Mainline Protestants, Jewish, and Orthodox followers there as well. Roman Catholicism has the most followers in the state. Tex-Mex has also come to Texan cuisine, with its combination of American and Mexican food traditions. Dallas and Houston schools have recently seen an increase of Latino students versus white students, although 40% of Latino students failed to finish high school, versus the much smaller eight percent rate among white students.
3. California - 38.9%
California comes in third, with about a 38.9% proportion of Latino and Hispanic people among its population. Spanish is considered the second language of the state, with the Los Angeles, San Diego, Imperial, and the San Joaquin Valley Latino populations speaking the language in everyday life. San Francisco and its suburbs have their own share of Hispanics and Latinos as well. "Californios", as they are sometimes called, are also present in Mariposa County, many of whom are descendants of Spanish-Mexicans even before the the US annexation of California. English is the official language, but Spanish is included in most of the state's government documents, forms, and services.
4. Arizona - 30.9%
Arizona has about a 30.9% share of Hispanic and Latino people among those living in the state. Its Hispanic communities have largely remained connected to their predominantly Mexican ties. A recent survey showed that about 20.80% of people spoke Spanish in Arizona. Catholicism has the most followers there, followed by Evangelical Christians. Hispanic students lag behind white students by about 21.2% in Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards tests. Studies show that only one in 10 Latino adults there have finished college. The number of Hispanic students also outnumber white students in Arizona's school systems by 17,000.
5. Nevada - 28.5%
Nevada has about 28.5% of its population claiming Latino and Hispanic ancestry, and Spanish is spoken by about 16.19% of its population. Most Hispanics who arrived in the state in the 1990s are employed in Las Vegas, and many of these later arrivals are part of the construction and farming labor force. Both the white and Latino communities in the state of Nevada have produced an equal proportion of college graduates, although this is still well below the national average. Religious affiliation in the state of Nevada shows that 25% belong to the Roman Catholic faith. Protestantism has about 35% of the followers, while 28% have no religious affiliations at all.