Don't Forget to Celebrate Contributions of Our Hispanic Public Employees During National Observance

Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic citizens in the country. 

As an anniversary of the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, Sept. 15 marks the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month rather than Sept. 1. Further, Mexico and Chile observe their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also within this 30-day period is Columbus Day, which is on Oct. 12.

Cesar Chavez, Sonia Sotomayor, Oscar de la Renta, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Frida Kahlo, Jennifer Lopez, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rita Moreno, John Leguizamo, Celia Cruz are just a few of the creators, activists, pioneers, and famous figures past and present. These names alone are an impressive list but don't forget about those who serve and have served as public employees. 

Many go nameless by the communities they have dedicated their careers educating, protecting, or helping govern. They work in law enforcement; they are firefighters and bus drivers. They might have been your public school teachers or might be teaching your child's favorite subject now. They are city librarians and work as your community's civil engineers. Others work to keep our drinking water safe, while some maintain our parks or provide recreational programs for our children. Many were the first to arrive during some of Texas' worst tragedies. Others lost their lives to COVID-19 during the pandemic.

There were more than 62.6 million Hispanics or Latinos reporting living in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2021 American Community Survey. The survey conducted by the Bureau gathers information on ancestry, citizenship, educational attainment, income, disability, employment, housing characteristics and other demographic data used by many public-sector, private-sector, and not-for-profit stakeholders to learn about communities. 

Texas is among 13 states with a population of one million or more Hispanic residents in 2021, according to the Bureau. The other states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington. 

Compared with 2020, the median age of the Hispanic population in the U.S. in 2021 was 30.5, up from 30.2. Among the Hispanic population in the U.S. in 2021, 5.1%, or 3,188,982, were 65 years old and older. The poverty rate for people 65 years and over is 17.7%, according to the Bureau data.

Of the Hispanic population, more than 28.4 million are listed as civilian employed aged 16 years old and over, with nearly 12% listed as government workers. 

Additional statistics for the Hispanic population from the survey:

  • Households: 18.29 million
    • Median household income (all income in the survey is reported in the past 12 months in 2021, inflation-adjusted dollars): $60,566
  • With earnings: 86.7%
    • Mean earnings: $80,156
  • With Social Security income: 19.7%
    • Mean Social Security income: $16,443
  • With Supplemental Security Income: 5.7%
    • Mean Supplemental Security income: $9,273
  • With retirement income: 12.7%
    • Mean retirement income: $23,576
"My mother gave me one piece of advice that stuck with me. She said 'don't forget where you came from.'" - Eva Longoria
Want to know more about Hispanic Heritage Month? Visit these sites:

Want to learn more about the importance of retirement benefits for public employees? Read our legislative guidebook.

About the Author: Allen Jones is director of communications and event marketing for TEXPERS.



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