Sociology Essay on Hispanic Community in the U.S.

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Vanderbilt University
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General Community Characteristics

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2015), Hispanics are the largest ethnic minority. For instance, the bureau highlighted that in 2014, the community made 17.4% of the U.S population, and thus, its population is forecasted to increase. The Hispanics entail native-born and foreign-born individuals who later immigrated to the U.S. from Span, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The community has contributed to the U.S. demographic changes since the 1960s, and until today, they are a major minority group, which is attributed to high rates of fertility and immigration. The recognition of Hispanics dates back to 1968 when the Congress authorized by the then President. The Hispanic community is populous in various states, including various towns in California, Texas, Miami, and Florida. In East Los Angeles Hispanics cover 98%, Laredo (94%), Brownsville (91%), Hialeah (90%), McAllen (80%), El Paso (77%), Santa Ana (76%), El Monte (72%), Oxnard (66%), and Miami (66%) (Marsella, Johnson, Watson, & Gryczynski, 2007).

Demographic and Socioeconomic Activities

According to Marsella et al. (2007), compared to the overall population in the U.S., Hispanics are more youthful, with a median age of about 25.9 years in comparison to 35.3 years of the general population. Among the Hispanic population, 39% are aged 19 and less which represents approximately 5% of the U.S. population. 19% are aged between 20 and 29, or 2% of the U.S. population. Also, as Marsella et al. (2007) articulate, 14% of Hispanics fall in the 45-65 age bracket, which is representative of 2% of the U.S. population. Even so, while 12% of the total U.S. population is aged 65 and over, only 5% of Hispanics fall in this age bracket (Marsella et al., 2007; Census-Bureau of the U.S., 2015). For this reason, it can be derived that most of the Hispanics are young. However, as the authors articulate, the eldest among them are Cubans with a median age 40.7 years. South Americans, Dominicans, Central Americans, Puerto Ricans, and finally Mexicans follow, with median ages of 33.1, 29.5, 29.2, 27.3, and 24.2 years respectively.

Even so, 27% of the Hispanic population did not study past the 9th grade, and 15% have a 9-12th-grade education. 28%, 19%, 7%, and 3.5% have a diploma, associate degree, bachelors degree, and an advanced degree respectively (Marsella et al., 2007). Regarding the socioeconomic status, 36% of the Hispanics aged 16 and above, have skilled jobs in the transportation sector and precision work, and the percentage also encompasses laborers, repairers, machine operators, and inspectors. However, most of the Hispanics perform unskilled jobs, and 59% have high-risk jobs in construction, repair services, household and personal services, nondurable manufacturing, and domestic maintenance

Community Groups

First generation Hispanics (foreign born) differ from second generation (U.S. born with at least one foreign born parent) ones regarding acculturation, diet, and language use, which consequently have differential effects on the Hispanics health. Cheikh Moussa, Sanz-Valero, and Wanden-Berghe (2014), for example, articulate that second- and third-generation Hispanics have a tendency of developing obesity. Velasco-Mondragon et al. (2016) point out that 68.4% of Hispanics speak English, but educational attainment remains low. In addition, the authors point out that the poverty rate among the community members increased by 5.1% between 2000 and 2010 and by 2014, approximately 23.6% lived below the poverty level. Due to poverty, in 2014, 26.5% of the Hispanic population was aged under 65 and 4.4% aged above 65 was uninsured (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016).

Health Concerns

Besides obesity, other risk factors to the population include tobacco and alcohol use, poor cardiovascular health, diabetes, cancer, and liver disease. According to Velasco-Mondragon et al. (2016), 42.5% of adult Hispanics are considered obese, and among American youths, they have the highest obesity rate of 21.9%. However, females are more prone to obesity compared to males (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016). In 2013, 20.9% of Hispanic adults had smoked within a month compared to 28.5% of the non-Hispanics, with 34.7% of Puerto Rican males and 31.7% of Puerto Rican females reporting the use of tobacco (Velasco-Mondragon et al., 2016). Binge-drinking amongst the Hispanics is low but is attributed to the development of the fatty liver disease. Among the community members, cardiovascular disease risk factors include hypertension, obesity, hyperlipidemia, and tobacco use. According to Velasco-Mondragon et al. (2016), there is also a significant percentage of Hispanics with diabetes, including 14.8% of Puerto Ricans, and 13.9% of Mexicans. Cancer is the leading cause of mortality among the community members.



U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014). Labor force characteristics by race and ethnicity. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Census-Bureau of the U.S. (2015). Profile America facts for features: Hispanic heritage month 2015. Washington: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration. pp. 16.

Cheikh Moussa, K., Sanz-Valero, J., & Wanden-Berghe, C. (2014). The social determinants of health of the child-adolescent immigration and its influence on the nutritional status: systematic review. Nutricion hospitalaria, 30(5).

Marsella, A. J., Johnson, J. L., Watson, P., & Gryczynski, J. (Eds.). (2007). Ethnocultural perspectives on disaster and trauma: Foundations, issues, and applications. Berlin, Germany: Springer Science & Business Media.

Velasco-Mondragon, E., Jimenez, A., Palladino-Davis, A. G., Davis, D., & Escamilla-Cejudo, J. A. (2016). Hispanic health in the USA: a scoping review of the literature. Public Health Reviews, 37(1), 31.


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