Hispanic Ministry in the United States

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs published a Hispanic Ministry in the United States report in 2002.

The report contains the following information:

  • Hispanic Ministry at a Glance
  • Demographics
  • U.S. Hispanic Facts & Figures
  • Hispanic Population by Episcopal Regions
  • Historical Memory

For more information, contact the Intercultural Ministries Office at Archdiocese of Milwaukee or the USCCB Hispanic Affairs Office.

Hispanic Ministry at a Glance

Total population of U.S. Hispanics in 2000 Census - 35.3 million
Percentage of U.S. population
- 12.5%
Percentage of U.S. Hispanic population under age 18
- 37.5%
Percentage of U.S. Hispanic population 18-64
- 59.0%
Percentage of U.S. Hispanic population age 65 or more
- 5.3%
Percentage of Hispanic population, native born (1980)
- 80%
Percentage of Hispanic population, native born (1990)
- 64%
Percentage of Hispanic population, foreign born (2000)
- 39.1% (60.9% native born)
Percentage of U.S. Catholic population growth since 1960
(due to Hispanics) - 71%
Percentage of U.S. Catholics who are Hispanic
- 39%
Percentage of Hispanics who are Catholic (2002)
- 72.6%
Approximate number of U.S. parishes with Hispanic ministry
- 4,000
Percentage of U.S. parishes with majority Hispanic presence
- 20.6%
Number of Hispanic priests in the United States
- 2,900
Number of U.S.-born Hispanic priests (approximate)
- 500
Percentage of Hispanic priests in the United States
- 6.3%
Catholics per U.S. priest
- 1,230
Hispanic Catholics per Hispanic priest
- 9.925
Hispanic percentage of seminarians
- 13%
Percentage of Hispanic priests ordained in 2002
- 15%
Number of active U.S. bishops
- 281
Number of active Hispanic bishops
- 25
Ratio of U.S. bishops to general Catholic population
- 1:231,000
Ratio of U.S. Hispanic bishops to U.S. Hispanic Catholic population
- 1:1 million

Demographics

The 2002 Official Catholic Dictionary lists the U.S. Catholic population at 65,270,444. Catholics represent 22.9percent of the total population of the United States.

According to the official 2000 Census, there are 35.3 million Hispanics in the United States, or 12.5% of the total population. Since 1990, the nation's Hispanic population has increased 58%, up from a total of 22.4 million in 1990.

According to a recent study commissioned by The Latino Coalition, 72.6 percent of Hispanics living in the United States - close to 26 million - are Catholic. Sixty-four percent of all Hispanics attend church services regularly.

Seven states had more than one million Hispanic residents in 2000: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Fifty percent of the Hispanic population in 2000 lived in California and Texas. Forty-two percent of New Mexico's population was Hispanic in 2000, the highest of any state.

According to the 2000 Census, 16.1 million - slightly more than half - of the nation's 31.1 million foreign-born residents were born in Latin America. Twenty and one-half million Hispanics, or 58 percent, are of Mexican origin. 68 percent of the nation's Hispanics in 2000 were either foreign-born themselves or had at least one parent who was foreign.

States and Cities where Hispanics Live

The Hispanic population growth between 1980 and 2000 in the largest 100 metropolitan areas averaged 145 percent.

In 2000, more than one-fourth of Hispanics in the United States lived in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami. About nine in 10 Hispanics lived in metropolitan areas in 2002. Of these, roughly half lived in central cities.

The 10 metropolitan areas with the largest Hispanic populations are Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Riverside-San Bernardino, Orange County, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Dallas.

Growth

According to Census data, the nation's Hispanic population increased 58 percent between 1990 and 2000, or 13 million. Hispanics accounted for 40 percent of the nation's increase in population during this period.

In the following seven states between 1990 and 2000, the Hispanic population more than tripled: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Many metropolitan areas are experiencing "hyper-growth." Las Vegas, for example, was the fastest-growing city in the nation between 1980 and 2000 with a population increase of 200 percent. During the same 20 years, the Hispanic population increased by 750 percent.

Age

Census data demonstrate that the Hispanic population in the United State is young. In 2000, 35.7 percent of Hispanics were less than 18 years old, compared with 23.5 percent o non-Hispanic whites.

Only 5.3 percent of Hispanics are over the age of 65.

The median age of the Hispanic population in 2000 was 25.8, meaning one half were above it and one half were below. The media age for the total U.S. population was 35.3 years. Among Hispanic groups, median ages ranged from 24.3 years for those of Mexican origin to 40.1 years for people of Cuban descent.

Education

Among the nation's population age 25 and over in 2000, 84 percent had completed high school.

In the Hispanic community, 57 percent had at least a high school diploma in 2000. Eleven percent of the population age 25 and over hold a bachelor's degree or higher.

Income

The median income of white households in the United States is $45,904; for Hispanics it is 27 percent less at $33,455.

As of 2000, 41 percent of Hispanic workers were employed in service occupations or as operators and laborers.

Poverty

In 1999, 7.7 percent of non-Hispanic Whites were living in poverty.

In the Hispanic community, the poverty rate is at 21.2 percent, or approximately 7.2 million people. The 2000 rate matches the record lows reached in the 1970s.

Projections

Based on the 2000 Census, the following projections have been made regarding Hispanics:

In 2020, the Hispanic population will be approximately 52.7million. In 2040, this number will grow to about 80.2 million. In 2050, with a population of approximately 96.5 million, Hispanic Americans are projected to constitute 24.5 percent of the U.S. population.

U.S. Hispanic Facts & Figures

What is the total number of Hispanic Catholics in the U.S.?
Approximately 39 percent - or 25 million of the nation's 65 million - of U.S. Catholics are Hispanic.

What percentage of Hispanics in the U.S. are Catholic?
72.6 percent, according to a recent study commissioned by The Latino Coalition. Other recent studies show similar findings ranging from 70-75 percent. Since 1960, Hispanics have accounted for 71 percent of the Catholic growth in the United States.

Which 10 dioceses have the largest Hispanic populations?
Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Galveston-Houston, San Bernardino, Chicago, Brooklyn, Fresno, San Antonio, and Orange.

What percentage of priests, bishops, and seminarians are Hispanic?
6.3 percent - or 2,900 - of the nation's 46,00 priests are Hispanic. Of these 2,900 Hispanic priests, approximately 500 were born in the U.S. Fifteen percent of the priests ordained in 2002 were Hispanic. There are 9,925 Hispanic Catholics per Hispanic priest, while there are 1,230 Catholics per priest in the general Catholic population.

Nine percent, or 25 of the nation's 281 active bishops, are Hispanic. There is a ratio of one bishop to every 231,000 Catholics in the U.S. and a ratio of one Hispanic bishop to every one million Hispanic Catholics in the U.S.

Thirteen percent of current seminarians - or approximately 500 - are Hispanic.

How is the Catholic Church meeting the needs of Hispanics?
The Church's response has been guided by a process of consultation that has led to the development of pastoral letters and statements such as Encuentro and Mission: A New Pastoral Framework for Hispanic Ministry (2002). Masses in many parishes are offered in Spanish, and ministries aimed at meeting the social and spiritual needs of Hispanic Catholics are growing. More than 150 dioceses and 4,000 local parishes and Catholic agencies currently serve Hispanic Catholics. In addition, pastoral institutes for the formation and training of Hispanic lay leaders exist at the local diocesan, regional and national levels. Twenty-five percent of all participants in lay formation programs in the United States are Hispanic. An increasing number of bishops now require their seminarians to learn Spanish as they anticipate the growing Hispanic Catholic population.

How many Hispanics currently reside in the United States?
35.3 million, or 12.5 percent of the total population, according to the 2000 Census. Since 1990, the nation's Hispanic population has grown 58 percent, up from a total of 22.4 million in 1990.

Where do Hispanics live?
As of 2000, more than one-fourth of Hispanics lived in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami. About nine in 10 Hispanics lived in metropolitan areas in 2002. Of these, roughly half lived in central cities. The 10 metropolitan areas with the largest Hispanic populations are: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, Houston, Riverside-San Bernardino, Orange County, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Dallas.

Are there particular characteristics of a liturgy for Hispanics?
Certain aspects of religious symbolism are especially important to Hispanics in that they establish a connection with their experience of the Catholic Church in their country of origin. Familiar music is an important element of their Catholic devotion. Traditional expressions of the faith for Hispanics include reenactments of biblical passages that follow the liturgical year, e.g., posadas in Advent, the three kings in the Epiphany procession, the December 12th feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the stations of the cross during Lent. The celebration of Marian feasts also is central to Hispanics' religious practice and expression.

Where did the tern "Hispanics" come from, and what does it mean?
The terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" are used interchangeably throughout recent pastoral documents such as Encuentro and Mission: A New Pastoral Framework for Hispanic Ministry (2002). The term "Hispanic" was used during the 1970 Census and was adopted by church leadership of the time to help define a people with a common identity, vision, and mission. It has been integral to the historical memory of Hispanic ministry since 1970 and continues to be used in the Church today. In recent years, the term "Latino" has become widely used by church and community leaders, particularly in urban areas. It is a self-identifying term that has emerged from the community and is embraced by the Church.

Hispanic Population by Episcopal Regions

Region 7 - Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana

Total Population
1990 - 21,866, 530
2000 - 23,863,453

Hispanic Population Totals
Total Hispanics
1990 - 1,096,428
2000 - 1,937,719
Mexican - 1,424,151
Puerto Rican - 207,796
Cuban - 23,683
Other Hispanics - 282,089

Historical Memory

1945
Office for the Spanish Speaking is established under the auspices of the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCWC) and promoted by Bishop Robert E. Lucey, Archbishop of San Antonio, Texas.

1969
The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) establishes the Division for the Spanish Speaking under the auspices of the Department of Social Development.

1970
Archbishop Patrick Flores is named first U.S. Hispanic bishop.

1972
First National Hispanic Encunetro calls for greater participation for the Spanish speaking in leadership and decision-making roles at all levels within the Catholic Church and for the establishment of structures for ministry to be implemented.

1974
The Division for the Spanish Speaking of the Department of Social Development is elevated to the NCCB Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs.

1977
Second National Hispanic Encuentro recommendations express the desire of grassroots Hispanics for a more responsive, multicultural, spiritually alive, united, and creative Church through a process of evangelization.

1982
The Bishops Speak with the Virgin: A Pastoral Letter of the Hispanic Bishops of the United States is published, presenting the message of our pilgrimage through history, our reality, and our role as artisans of a new humanity, courage, and hope.

1983
The U.S. bishops' pastoral letter, The Hispanic Presence: Challenge and Commitment, is published. The U.S. bishops call Hispanic Catholics to raise their prophetic voices again in a Third Encuentro.

1985
Third National Hispanic Encuentro process involves more than half a million Hispanics in a grassroots consultation that led to the development of the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry.

1986
Prophetic Voices is published: The history and process for consultation of the Third National Pastoral Encuentro.

1987
The Catholic bishops unanimously approve the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry. The Plan provides pastoral priorities and action for Hispanic ministry at the diocesan, regional, and parish levels.

1990
Bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affaird statement Leaven for the Kingdom of God is published.

1995
Communion and Mission, a guide on small church communities, is published.

The U.S. Hispanic bishops convoke Hispanic Ministries directors and coordinators to commemorate and celebrate the collaboration and communion of fifty years of a national ministry effort.

Pastroal statement The Hispanic Presence in the New Evangelization in the United States, is published.

1997
Synod of Bishops for America takes place. The U.S. bishops approve the convoking of a fourth national Encuentro.

1998
One Faith, One Church, One America: Symposium with the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) on Catechesis '98.

1999
Pope John Paul II promulgates Ecclesia in America in Mexico City.

Hispanic Ministry at the Turn of the New Millennium: A Report of the Bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affairs is published.

Many Faces in God's House: A Catholic Vision for the New Millennium, a parish guide to prepare for Encuentro 2000, is published.

2000
Encuentro 2000: Many Faces in God's House is held in Los Angeles, California, with the participation of more than 5,000 church leaders representing 150 dioceses and 157 different ethnic groups and nationalities.

2001
The Bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affairs convokes the leadership in Hispanic Ministry to a National Symposium to refocus Hispanic ministry for the new centrury.

2002
Encuentro and Mission: A Renewed Pastoral Framework for Hispanic Ministry is published.

Contact Information

Name:Jorge Benavente
Phone:414-769-3393
 
Department
Intercultural Ministry
Language
Spanish (Español)
Resource Type
Reports
 

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