History of National Hispanic Heritage Month
Today’s National Hispanic Heritage Month observance was born in 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Two decades later, it was expanded to a month-long celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15. September 15 is an historically significant day that marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The designated period also recognizes those from Mexico and Chile, which celebrate their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanic and Latinx people, some 60.6 million, comprise the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority at nearly 19% of the nation’s total population. States with a population of 1 million or more Hispanic residents include New Jersey, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.