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Latino Americans Assimilation into American Business Culture

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America is one of the most diverse nations in the world. The backgrounds and ancestry of the citizens of this great nation are far reaching and wide spread. The Latino American population is no different in this regard. Coming from regions such as Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, and South America has provided this diverse population with the challenge of assimilating into American culture. There are many important aspects of the Latino American population's history that are important to discuss in order to fully understand this group. These aspects include, but are not limited to; the legality of immigrating to the United States for the Latino population, as well as the affect assimilation into American culture has had on the Latino American population's family life including their children. These issues are also crucially important in understanding the Latino population's current situation in the US.

The 1990 US Census has reported that about 15% of all children in the United States are immigrant children, or children of immigrant parentage, and 59% of Latino-American children are members of the first or second generation (Growing Up American). With an increasing amount of immigrant children being incorporated into the public school systems of the United States, family strains are becoming increasingly popular. Some students have reported not wanting their parents to come to school because they are embarrassed of their culture. Many of their parents cannot speak English, and still dress according to cultural styles of the country of origin (The Crucible Within, 749).

Immigrant children coming from second or third generations are becoming less likely to have connections back to their parent's country of origins. Most of them born in America view this as their home and have a hard time relating back to their Latino heritage. Because of this, many children are finding it much easier to assimilate into American culture. The idea of social mobility, or the immigrant children becoming part of mainstream America, is easier for them then it was their parents of the first generation immigrants. The teenage population within the Latino American community sees America in a different light than the generation before them. They see America as their home and their roots belonging here as opposed to a nation far away that they might not have ever seen. Latino American teens also contribute heavily to the buying power within the Latino American culture which grossed over 400 million dollars per year in recent times. (Carr-Ruffino p.334)

According to the Population Resource Center, "The Census Bureau estimates that of 8.7 million unauthorized migrants living in the U.S. in 2000, 5.4 million (62%) were Hispanic, and 3.9 million (45%) were from Mexico." Also, of the 28.4 million foreign-born residents in the United States, 51 percent were born in Latin America. Recent reports released by the National Population Council (Mexico) show that in 2000, between 8.2 and 8.5 million Mexican-born individuals lived in the US. Between 1991 and 1998, 7.6 million immigrants were admitted to the United States. Of those, 3.1 million (about 40 percent) came from Latin America. According to Immigration and Naturalization Services, Mexico is the single largest supplier of immigrants to the United States; 1.9 million Mexicans immigrated between 1991 and 1998. In addition, as of July 1, 2004 the Latino population was 41,329,556 in the United Sates, or about 14.1% of the overall greater population. These statistics show an increase in the immigration percentages over the span of several decades since the earliest massive immigration was recorded in the 1960's. (Citizenship in the US)

According to the BBC news, "a United States study shows Hispanic households are up to eight times less well-off than Americans overall. They are typically younger, have lower incomes and save less, partly because they send over $10 billion a year to relatives back home, researchers said. The study showed the average Hispanic household's wealth was $11,500 against $86,000 for US households as a whole. Household wealth was calculated as the family's total assets, including homes and cars, minus their consumer debts" (Wealth gap hits Hispanics in the US). The ways in which Latino American's manage their finances strongly affects their lifestyles, as well as the rate at which they have been able to assimilate to American culture. By sending a large portion of expendable income home to family members in other nations, the standard of living by which Latino Americans live by within the United States is drastically reduced. The money for a higher standard of living is spent elsewhere. This mentality can make it difficult to survive in a capitalist society that places high emphasis on spending power and ability.

The current situation within the United States relating to the treatment of Latino Americans has been vastly improving since the early 1960's when the first Latino's immigrated to this country in large numbers. The Latino American



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