Today marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month! First celebrated in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, it was expanded to a full month by Congress in 1988. Yes, it’s unusual to begin such observances mid-month, but September 15 is also independence day for several Latin American countries, so offers a double occasion to celebrate!

Some facts:

A culturally diverse group, the Hispanic community includes people with ties to Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Spain.

The Hispanic community represents nearly 20% of the overall U.S. population and contributed to more than half of the U.S. population growth over the past decade.

Hispanic Americans account for 39% of California’s population, making this community the largest ethnic group within that state, followed by nearly the same percentage in Texas and 26% in Florida.

Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the U.S.

Resources to learn more:

Library of Congress: Online exhibits and insights provided through the Library of Congress and the National Archives.

PBS: A special collection of stories that explore the history, traditions, and culture of Hispanic and Latin Americans.

Family fun: various ideas published on the “We are Teachers” website (online collaboration site for educators).

Notable Hispanic Americans: From celebrities to politicians, this list highlights 15 individuals whose contributions to our culture have been particularly noteworthy.

Hispanics and the insurance industry: Read the recent report regarding the journey of Hispanic insurance professionals published by Marsh and the Latin American Association of Insurance Agents (LAAIA).