Chicago's Hispanic Culture
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the definition of Hispanic, as developed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race (CDC – Hispanic, 2012). Approximately two million Hispanics reside in the Chicago area which accounts for over twenty percent of the population and the third largest Hispanic society in the United States (Sanchez, 2008). The majority of the Hispanic population found in Chicago are bilingual (English and Spanish speaking) due to about sixty percent being second and third generation, educated in the United States, and representing a diverse set of cultures from varying countries such as Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and others of Latin America (Sanchez, 2008).
The Hispanic population in the Chicago area will further be described by its boundaries, area features, types of social interactions of the community, common goals and interests, as well as any barriers and challenges of the individuals of the area. As stated by Manny Sanchez, Managing Partner of Sanchez, Daniels & Hoffman, “they’re taking their place in the corner office, at the head of the classroom, in the City Council Chamber and yes – even as Venezuelan-born Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox showed us – the manager’s office of a ball field” (Sanchez, 2008) is a small comment of the success of this community; however does not represent all aspects as will be further explained. A full assessment of the Hispanic community of Chicago will follow utilizing Gordon’s Functional Health Patterns describing the leading causes of death and chronic health issues of this populations with heart disease and obesity being high on the list (Obesity in Latino, 2012).
The western and southwest side of Chicago is primarily Hispanic neighborhoods. Hispanics arrived in Chicago in the early 1910’s with more than 1000 Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, and has now grown to have the largest Mexican population in the U.S. The city’s largest Mexican-American population lives in the far southwest side of Chicago which is called the ‘Little Village’ or ‘La Villita’ and is occupied by more than 80% Hispanic people. This area is predominantly Mexican with other ethnic populations mixed in such as South American and Central American Hispanics. All of these people come together to