Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Alma M. Garcia
Mexican Americans are U.S.-born citizens of Mexican descent and represent the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. An overview of key historical events in this group's history and contemporary social and cultural characteristics illustrates the important role that this group has played in American history. Mexican Americans use a variety of ethnic self-identification terms, including Hispanic, Hispano, Mexican, Mexicano, Latino, and Chicano. These vary with history, geographical region, and age; many Mexican Americans use all or some of these terms interchangeably. The U.S. Census Bureau uses Hispanic as an umbrella term that includes Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and other groups from Latin and South America. In 2005, there were approximately 40,425,000 Hispanics in the United States representing 14% of the total population. Mexican Americans numbered approximately 26,630,000 and made up 65% of the total Hispanic population. The historical legacy of Mexican Americans begins with the history of the Spanish ...