The Houston Area Survey  
The Houston Area Survey
1982-Present
Home All Survey Questions Current PowerPoint Research Reports Other Publications Research Opportunities Contributing Sponsors Contact


 

Mexican Americans



Mexican Americans (Spanish: mexicoamericanos or estadounidenses de origen mexicano) are Americans of full or partial Mexican descent. As of July 2016, Mexican Americans made up 11.2% of the United States' population, as 36.3 million U.S. residents identified as being of full or partial Mexican ancestry. As of July 2016, Mexican Americans comprised 63.2% of all Latinos in Americans in the United States. Many Mexican Americans reside in the American Southwest; over 60% of all Mexican Americans reside in the states of California and Texas. As of 2016, Mexicans make up 53% of total percent population of Latin foreign-born. Mexicans are also the largest foreign-born population, accounting for 25% of the total foreign-born population, as of 2017.

The 1965 Delano grape strike, sparked by mostly Filipino American farmworkers, became an intersectional struggle when labor leaders and voting rights and civil rights activists Dolores Huerta, founder of the National Farm Workers Association, and her co-leader Cesar Chavez united with the strikers to form the United Farm Workers. Huerta's slogan "Si, se puede" (Spanish for "Yes we can"), was popularized by Chavez's fast and became a rallying cry for the Chicano Movement, or Mexican American civil rights movement. The Chicano movement aimed for a variety of civil rights reforms, and was inspired by the civil rights movement; demands ranged from the restoration of land grants, to farm workers' rights, to enhanced education, to voting and political rights, as well as emerging awareness of collective history. The Chicano walkouts of antiwar students is traditionally seen as the start of the more radical phase of the Chicano movement.

As early as 1813, some of the Tejanos who colonized Texas in the Spanish Colonial Period established a government in Texas that desired independence from Spanish-ruled Mexico. In those days, there was no concept of identity as Mexican. Many Mexicans were more loyal to their states/provinces than to their country as a whole, which was a colony of Spain. This was particularly true in frontier regions such as Zacatecas, Texas, Yucatan, Oaxaca, New Mexico, etc.

Relations between Californios and English-speaking settlers were relatively good until 1846, when military officer John C. Fremont arrived in Alta California with a United States force of 60 men on an exploratory expedition. Fremont made an agreement with Comandante Castro that he would stay in the San Joaquin Valley only for the winter, then move north to Oregon. However, Fremont remained in the Santa Clara Valley then headed towards Monterey. When Castro demanded that Fremont leave Alta California, Fremont rode to Gavilan Peak, raised a US flag and vowed to fight to the last man to defend it. After three days of tension, Fremont retreated to Oregon without a shot being fired.

The Californios defeated an American force in Los Angeles on September 30, 1846. In turn, they were defeated after the Americans reinforced their forces in what is now southern California. Tens of thousands of miners and associated people arrived during the California Gold Rush, and their activities in some areas meant the end of the Californios' ranching lifestyle. Many of the English-speaking 49ers turned from mining to farming and moved, often illegally, onto land granted to Californios by the former Mexican government.

While Mexican Americans are concentrated in the Southwest: California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. During World War I many moved to industrial communities such as St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and other steel-producing regions, where they gained industrial jobs. Like European immigrants, they were attracted to work that did not require proficiency in English. Industrial restructuring in the second half of the century put many Mexican Americans out of work in addition to people of other ethnic groups. Their industrial skills were not as useful in the changing economies of these areas.

Mexican-American identity has changed throughout these years. Over the past hundred years, activist Mexican Americans have campaigned for their constitutional rights as citizens, to overturn discrimination in voting and to gain other civil rights. They have opposed educational and employment discrimination, and worked for economic and social advancement. In numerous locations, court cases have been filed under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to challenge practices, such as poll taxes and literacy tests in English, that made it more difficult for Spanish-language minorities to register and vote. At the same time, many Mexican Americans have struggled with defining and maintaining their community's cultural identity as distinct from mainstream United States. That changes in response to the absorption of countless new immigrants.

In the late 1960s the founding of the Crusade for Justice in Denver and the land grant movement in New Mexico in 1967 set the bases for what would become known as Chicano (Mexican American) nationalism. The 1968 Los Angeles, California school walkouts expressed Mexican-American demands to end de facto ethnic segregation (also based on residential patterns), increase graduation rates, and reinstate a teacher fired for supporting student political organizing. A notable event in the Chicano movement was the 1972 Convention of La Raza Unida (United People) Party, which organized with the goal of creating a third party to give Chicanos political power in the U.S.

The Mexican median household income was a mere $37,390 compared to that of $49,487 and $54,656 for immigrants and native-born populations respectively. This pushed 28% of Mexican families to live in poverty, to put that in perspective the rest of the immigrants where at 18% and native-born families 10%. Lack of English proficiency and education are my reasons for speculating why Mexican immigrants are more likely to live in poverty and not succeed by obtaining higher paying better jobs.

When comparing the contemporary segregation of Mexican Americans to that of Black Americans, some scholars claim that "Latino segregation is less severe and fundamentally different from Black residential segregation." suggesting that the segregation faced by Latinos is more likely to be due to factors such as lower socioeconomic status and immigration while the segregation of African Americans is more likely to be due to larger issues of the history of racism in the US.






Home | All Survey Questions | Current PowerPoint | Research Reports
Other Publications | Research Opportunities | Contributing Sponsors | Contact



Did you know how to mine bitcoin? Just read on beaxy.com!