The Latino population in the United States is over 60 million, making up 18.9% of the total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As the largest ethnic minority, the Latino community is an integral part of the identity of the United States. Latinas and Latinos are athletes, entrepreneurs, scientists, public servants, and more, and have made significant cultural contributions. From introducing new forms of music and dance to leading Fortune 500 companies, members of the Latino community have been drivers of ​change and innovation. 

  Explore how Latinos in the United States have shaped the United States

Diverse Cultural Influence 

Layered with factors like region, generation, heritage, race, and gender, the identities of Latinas and Latinos across the United States are shaped by their unique experiences. 
Learn about Somos, a short film that features the rich diversity of Latino experiences. 
​​​Latino ancestry is varied and often reflects the encounters between European, Indigenous, African and other peoples who were forced together as a result of Spanish and Portuguese colonization. Over many centuries, variations of customs, beliefs, traditions, and more within the Latino community have taken shape and contributed to the multicultural fabric of the United States. 

The Latino identity is complex and extremely diverse, as shown by data that maps the United States Latino experience. For example, many Latinas and Latinos identify with multiple labels, such as Hispanic or Latino, American, and Afro-Latino or Afro-Caribbean. Diversity among the Latino community is continuing to increase; ​​​​65 percent of third or higher generation Latinos have a non-Latino parent or grandparent.  

Discover more about Latino diversity in the United States

The diverse experiences of the Latino population have transformed their communities and greatly impacted many areas of ​​culture in the United States. From pioneering aspects of entertainment industries like music, dance, and sports to transforming the food and art industries, Latinas and Latinos have been influential in driving change and creativity. Many members of the Latino community have been trailblazers in helping to define culture in the United States, ​​including: 

Lin-Manuel Miranda – Award-winning composer, playwright, and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda is a leader in the entertainment industry. As the creator and original star of Broadway’s Tony-winning musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights,” his work and efforts to increase the representation of people of color have encouraged change throughout the country. 
Sonia Sotomayor – A true boundary breaker, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina and third woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Her determination and perseverance continue to serve as an inspiration. 
Selena – As the first ​​Tejano ar​​tist to win a Grammy, Selena was instrumental in opening doors for future generations of Latino musicians and helped to change the landscape of the entertainment industry. 
Casilda Luna – Soon after immigrating to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1962, Casilda Luna organized gatherings that rallied neighbors and the local Latino community around social issues faced in their area. 

Latino Voting

Throughout the history of the United States, Latinas and Latinos have faced voter suppression, intimidation at polls, and other tactics to limit political representation. Following many years of ​​fighting for equality and key legislation passed, such as the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act to update limited-English proficient language protections, the number of Latino voters has continued to rise. In 2016, 12.7 million Latinos voted, which was about 48 percent of eligible Latino voters. In 2020, a record number of Latinos were eligible to vote at nearly 30 million. For the first time, more than half of the Latino community members who were eligible to vote cast a ballot that year – about 16.5 million. ​​This rise in Latina and Latino voters has transformed the voting landscape in the United States, and in 2020 Latino voters became the second-largest voting bloc in the country

The increase in the number of eligible Latino voters has come from specific Latino groups, like women and young people. Mexicans make up about 60 percent of eligible voters, and Puerto Ricans about 13 percent. Additionally, of the 54 percent of Latino voters who cast a ballot in 2020, women were more likely than men to vote. Half of the eligible Latina voters showed up to the polls, while only 45 percent of men eligible to vote cast a ballot. 

While there have been great strides in Latino voting rights, there is still a need to ensure every vote counts. Civil rights and advocacy organizations continue to empower Latina and Latino voters and fight for their rights. 

Learn more about the history of Latino voting rights in the United States.