Hispanics and Latinos Diet of

The United States Census Bureau defines Hispanics as those who indicate their origin to be Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American (e.g., Dominican, Nicaraguan, Colombian) or other Hispanic origin. This designation is made independently of racial classification. According to the 2002 U.S. Census, 13.3 percent of the U.S. population (or over 37 million Americans) identified themselves as being of Hispanic origin. This number exceeds the number of non-Hispanic blacks, or African Americans, in the United States, making Hispanics the largest minority subpopulation within the nation. The three major subgroups that make up the Hispanic population are Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans. By far the largest of these is the Mexican-American population, which represents at least two-thirds of all Hispanics.

Ethnic and racial diversity within the U.S. increased dramatically dur- diversity: the variety of cultural traditions ing the latter part of the twentieth century, with much of the large-scale witNn a larger culture immigration coming from Asia and Latin America. From 1980 to 2000 the Hispanic population within the United States doubled. More than 40 percent of Hispanics were living in the western part of the country at the end of the century. In 2000, New Mexico had a higher proportion of Hispanics in its population than any other state, with 42 percent of its population being of Hispanic origin. The high growth rate among Hispanics is attributable to higher fertility rates than those observed in other ethnic groups, and to increases in immigration, especially in border states such as California and Texas. Compared to the non-Hispanic white population, the Hispanic population in the United States is younger, less educated, economically dis-advantaged, and more likely to live in larger households. However, there are significant differences among the Hispanic subpopulations, with those of Mexican origin being relatively less advantaged and those of Cuban origin being relatively more advantaged in terms of education and income.

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