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  • Hispanics and Latinos are an ethnolinguistic group of Americans with genealogical origins in the countries of Latin America and Spain. More generally it includes all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino. Hispanic and Latinos are racially diverse, although predominantly white or mestizo. As a result of their racial diversity, Hispanics form an ethnicity sharing a language and cultural heritage, rather than a race. American Hispanics are predominantly of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban ancestry. Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States. As of 2012, Hispanics constitute 17% of the United States population, or 53 million people. This figure includes 38 million Hispanophone Americans, making the US home to the largest community of Spanish speakers outside of Mexico, having surpassed Argentina, Colombia, and Spain within the last decade. Latinos overall are the second largest ethnic group in the United States, after non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanics have been in the territory of present-day United States continuously since the sixteenth century founding of Saint Augustine, Florida, by the Spanish.

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