From September 15th to October 15th each year, Americans celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of the Hispanic community. This heritage month began as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was further extended by Ronald Reagan during his presidency. Hispanic Heritage Month carries a theme each year, and we commemorate “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope” in 2021.
To better understand the cultural drivers shaping Hispanic ideals, we used ThinkNow ConneKt to analyze three primary groups – Hispanic Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z – to learn which social issues are most important to them personally. The responses vary. Hispanic Gen X rank jobs/economy as most important (22%), while Hispanic Millennials prioritize healthcare (16%) and Gen Z, racial discrimination (18%).
When viewed generationally, this makes sense. During the rise of the Black Lives Matter protests and the contentious election season, Gen Z was at the forefront of online strategy combating racism and other social issues. Gen X lived through the stock market crash of 1987, the economic recession of the 1980s, the dot.com bubble in the late 1990s, and the sub-prime mortgage crisis on the back end of 2008. In my social circle of Millennials, we often complain about healthcare costs and the inability to get sick despite our employer-provided health insurance. When I add in the amount of travel I do across the globe, healthcare stands out as a key concern.
Evaluating Cultural Values
When evaluating a broad spectrum of cultural values, it is interesting to see how they change across generations. Every couple of years, new data is released showing a decline in interest in religion, primarily among younger generations. However, we see an increase in interest in education among generations that can hopefully impact our educational system.
|Hispanic GenX||Family (48%), Education (15%), Religion (11%)|
|Hispanic Millennial||Family (42%), Education (16%), Financial Success (15%)|
|Hispanic GenZ||Family (38%), Education (20%), Financial Success (12%)|
Finally, let’s look at a heavier-hitting question: How do you feel about your future? We examined the responses of Hispanic Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Unlike noted previously, the differences here aren’t as significant. Approximately 90% of Hispanic Gen X and Millennials responded they were somewhat optimistic about the future, whereas Gen Z’s response to the same question was 84%. We also asked all respondents to select how they define “success.” Important to all generations is “being happy with yourself, regardless of what you have or don’t have.”
Hispanic Heritage Month and Tradition
Despite having similar cultural backgrounds, all respondents have varying degrees of generational experiences which have influenced their perspectives. These perspectives permeate the way Hispanics see themselves and define success, thereby impacting their contributions to society. Being a Latino myself, I find it refreshing to see family ranking as a top priority across generations, particularly during Hispanic Heritage Month as we’re celebrating traditions that have inspired hope for generations.