A guesstimate from 2011 places a 1 million Spanish speaking immigration in the UK. In the US these numbers are even more important, since they reached 53 million in a report from 2012: it has been calculated that by 2050 they will reach the 25% of the American population. The situation reaches its highest percentage in the American State of New Mexico, where the 45% of the citizens are Latin Americans.

That’s why, if you go to the US, you might think that you got on a wrong flight: “Calle Ocho”, “paseo de las Estrellas”, “restaurante El Pescador”, “frutería”, “supermercado”, all the commercial signs are written in Spanish and people talk out loud accompanying the yelling to hand gestures. Indeed, you may be in Little Havana, the Latin neighbourhood of Miami. There, it looks like everyone knows each other, the national politics and the Hispanic ones are discussed with the same passion, in the restaurants you can find the best Cuban gastronomy and on Friday nights you can dance salsa in the cultural centres and in the dance clubs (discos). Little Havana is the most picturesque example of the Latin American barrio (district) of the US, but there are many others such as the Mission District of San Francisco, the Latin Queens in New York, or East Los Angeles; many of them are also suffering for economic depression and crime.

For what concerns the UK, there haven’t been many recent studies about the Latin American immigration, the last data are found back to the 2005 and reported by the Institute for the Public Policy Research (wikipedia.org), which estimates that the largest Hispanic community is in London, followed by Liverpool, Oxford and Cambridge. In London, they are concentrated in the borough of Hyde Park, Vauxhall North, Kensington and Chelsea.

These are just numbers, but the real question is another: what is a “Hispanic”? It is not a race, as the Hispanic world is multiracial itself. A Hispanic can have American, European, African or Asian origins; most of them nowadays have their origins in the miscegenation of these races. “Hispanic” is not exactly an ethnic group neither, because many Hispanic countries are by now multi-ethnic. A multi-ethnic society is composed by many different traditions; it means that a Galician is as Hispanic as a mixed-raced from Central America, as a Jewish in Buenos Aires. Hispanic is than a linguistic group: people who speak Spanish as mother tongue.

Nowadays, Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the world, following Mandarin (1350 million), English (1200 million) and Hindi (540 million). 460 million of people, 390 in Spanish-speaking countries and 70 million in other countries speak Spanish. And you might be among them!

Comments