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Mexico's Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. Photo: EFE
Mexico's Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 16. Photo: EFE

Hispanic Heritage: Mexicans are the largest Hispanic group in the U.S.

In the U.S. there are 37 million reasons to celebrate Mexican independence day.

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The 2020 census made it clear Latinos are no longer a minority in the U.S.. For several decades, they have been one of the fastest-growing groups. Since 2010, the population has grown 23%, faster than the growth rate of the country as a whole, which only reached 7%.

Within this growing Hispanic force, the most significant number, by far, come from Mexico. According to Pew Research Center, 37 million Americans self-identify as of Mexican origin, which is equivalent to 62% of the Latino population in the country.

The phenomenon is due to the close proximity of the two countries, as they share a 1,970-mile border and, in spite of efforts to build barriers, the traffic on there is unstoppable.

In cities such as Los Angeles, Houston and Phoenix, the population of Mexican origin exceeds 70% of Latinos. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the phenomenon is that since the beginning of the 21st century, more Americans of Mexican origin have been born in the country than arrived from Mexico.

Chicanos and “Mexamericanos”

Mexicans, more than other Hispanic groups, have created a particular culture in the United States. While Chicanos are the first migrants and their children living in the southern part of the country, in recent years the term “mexamericanos” has been coined to refer to the Mexican diaspora in the United States.

They are the descendants of those first migrants and reside in cities further north in the country. Mexican writer Fey Berman arrived to New York in the 1980s and there, she found a culture very different from that of the Mexicans and migrants in the south of the country.

Since then, she dedicated herself to researching Mexican culture in the U.S. and in 2017, published the book Mexamérica, una cultura naciendo.

"We are searching for our own identity. And now it is more urgent than ever to talk about it, when we are, officially, victims of racism, of prejudice, of stereotypes... and when it is more important to solve the situation of the undocumented," the writer told BBC when talking about what characterizes Mexican-Americans.

The celebration of independence

Although the most popular holiday among Mexicans in the U.S. is May 5, the cry for independence on Sept. 16 is also celebrated and above all is one of many commemorations that mark the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month.

In California, the Grito de Independencia is celebrated at Rancho Las Flores Park. In Arlington's Lone Star Park in Arlington and in the Great Plaza of Fort Worth in Dallas, Texas there are also big celebrations. In Georgia, the gathering is in Atlanta's Fiesta Plaza to the rhythm of Mexican bands, while in Chicago there is a parade in La Villita. In Los Angeles the "grito de dolores" is revived with a parade in Placita Olvera.

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