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"Ethnic" Los Angeles

Comparative Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality

Anne Cong-Huyen, Thania Lucero, Joyce Park, Constance Cheeks, Charlie Kim, Sophia Cole, Julio Damian Rodriguez, Andrea Mora, Jazz Kiang, Samantha Tran, Katie Nak, Authors

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Taking the United States by Storm: Hispanic Immigration

Between the years of 1970 and 2012, the population on foreign born Hispanics coming to Los Angeles has increased dramatically. Here are some maps showing the different changes throughout the decades.

Here the group is using a program called "Social Explorer" to create census maps of Hispanic or Latino persons living in Los Angeles between the years of 1970, 1990, and 2008-2012. Keep in mind, however, that many Hispanics and Latinos are undocumented and may not have answered this census so the percentage of population is not absolutely correct.

In 1970, Mexican-born numbers had risen to about 760,000. The census below shows about 18%-19% of those living in Los Angeles are of Spanish origin or descent (as referred to by Social Explorer). Increasing growth began by 1980 as there were about 2.2 million Mexican immigrants and soon made the United States known for being one of the top countries to gain Spanish immigration.

By 1990 the accumulation of all immigrants who are Mexican born nearly doubled from 1980 from 15.6% to 30%. In Los Angeles alone, the census shows about 38% of residents are Hispanic. Over the years an increasing share of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. became permanent residents with year-round jobs. Many researchers suggest the rise in immigration to the States is due to low-skilled labor job offers, economic prospects of taxing workers, and family reunification in the States.

Today, Latinos make up two-thirds of the population in South L.A. with a percentage of about 48%. This spike in Hispanic population in Los Angeles has even considered Spanish as the "unofficial language" around the area and where one reporter named Tony Castro of the "Huff Post" for Latino Voices says,  "Hispanics have changed the culture and pulse of the community". During their observational study at Mariachi Plaza, Andrea and Damian found this account to be true as almost everyone at the plaza spoke Spanish.

(Again, these census' do not account for every Hispanic or Latino living in Los Angeles as there are many undocumented workers crossing the border to live here.)

Mexican emigrants living in the U.S. now represent a substantial share of the Mexican-born population. No other nation in the world has as many of its citizens living abroad as does Mexico, and 97% of them live in
the U.S.

Whether or not the increase of mariachi music in the States is associated with the amount of increasing immigration is not proven. However, it is a good assumption to consider that with the increasing amount of Hispanic immigration in Los Angeles, the popularity of mariachi music has also increased, and the amount of Hispanics in Los Angeles will only continue to increase.

An important question to keep in mind during your journey is to consider whether or not Mariachi Plaza has isolated itself among its own culture due to the amount of residents who are of Hispanic decent, or has mariachi music integrated itself into various cultures and no longer limits itself to Hispanic culture.
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