Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Damian J. Martinez
Latina/o Americans constitute the fastest-growing pan-ethnic population group in the United States. These self-identified or otherwise identified Latina/o Americans have originated from, or are descendants from, a Spanish-speaking country and share, in some way, a colonial experience from Spain. Although they are homogenous in this sense, they are heterogeneous and diverse in national origin, generational status, geographic residence, Spanish-language capacity, and phenotypic features, as well as other socioeconomic factors. Because the growth of the Latina/o American population in the United States has outpaced other pan-ethnic groups in the general population, and the increasing numbers of Latina/o Americans in the incarcerated population, their immigration in sheer numbers and increasing diversity have caused social scientists, researchers, policymakers, and laypeople to recognize their impact on the criminal justice system. This entry provides a brief historical account of the Latina/o American population; explores the issue of their identities and categorization; outlines their pan-ethnic and ...