CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Latin American Fact Sheet

July 11, 2012

There are over 50 million people in the U.S. today of Hispanic origin. This is the single largest ethnic group in the country, surpassing African Americans. It represents approximately 16% of the total U.S. population. The number of Hispanics in the U.S. today is greater than the entire population of Canada. Over 52% of the 2010 foreign-born population in the U.S. is from Latin America. By 2020, the U.S. Hispanic population is projected to be 70 million, or 21 percent of the U.S. population, and by 2050, it is projected to reach 128 million, or 29% of the population. Hispanics accounted for over 40% of the country’s population growth between 1990 and 2000, and will account for 60% of the US population growth between 2005 and 2050. While close to 70% of the Hispanic population is concentrated in six states (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, and Arizona), this share has been declining since 2000 as the number of Hispanics in other areas of the country has grown.

Latinos in the US currently represent the fifth-largest Spanish-speaking community in the world, behind those of Mexico, Colombia, Spain and Argentina. In 1968, of Public High School students studying a foreign language, 37% studied French and 48% studied Spanish. In 2000, 19% studied French and 70% studied Spanish. In 1968, of students enrolled in US institutions of higher education 34% studied French and 32% studied Spanish. In 2002, 14% studied French and 53% studied Spanish. According to the Modern Language Association, since 1995 students enrolled in Spanish language courses at institutions of higher education have exceeded those enrolled in all other modern languages combined.

Business and Entrepreneurship
According to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce there are over 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., generating over $420 billion in annual gross receipts. In 2010 the US Census Bureau reported that Hispanic-Owned businesses increased at double the national rate. About one of every ten small businesses in the country is currently estimated to be Hispanic. Hispanics account for over 13% of the documented U.S. labor force and are expected to increase to 20% by 2030. According to the Selig Center, Hispanic purchasing power surpassed $900 billion in 2009 and is projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2014.

Direct Foreign Investment
The U.S. is the largest investor in Latin America after the European Union, accounting for 18% of total inflows to the region in 2011, according to ECLAC. In contrast, despite its recent growth as a regional presence, China represented 9% of the total in 2010, almost the same amount of FDI originating within the region (10%). The rising importance of intra-regional investment reflects the importance of Latin American multinationals (known as Multilatinas or Translatinas) which have consolidated and expanded internationally (including in the US). Some notable examples are CEMEX, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, Petroleos de Venezuela, and others. Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for 10% of 2010 investment flows worldwide.

Latin America, although not the largest, is among the fastest growing U.S. regional trade partners. Between 1990 and 1999, total U.S. merchandise trade (exports plus imports) with Latin America grew by 163% compared to 82% for Asia, 70% for Western Europe, 24% for Africa, and 93% for the world. Latin America is capturing a larger share of U.S. trade, expanding from 13.3% of total U.S. trade in 1990 to 18.0% in 1999, and 20% in 2010, although this growth has not been uniform across the region. In 2010, the United States exported merchandise to Latin America and the Caribbean worth $257 billion (22% of its world totals), with Mexico and Brazil being among the top ten US export markets. That year the United States imported merchandise from Latin America and the Caribbean worth $358 billion (18% of its world totals), with Mexico and Venezuela among the top ten exporters (and Brazil not far behind). This means the US bought over 40% of the region’s 2010 exports.

Locally, in 2011, 33% of Louisiana’s merchandise exports went to Latin America and the Caribbean. Mexico is one of the state’s principal export destinations accounting for 10% of all exports in 2011. Other important destinations in Latin America are Brazil and Chile (each 3%) and Guatemala and Colombia (each 2%). In 2011 Louisiana was ranked seventh in exports among all US states.

According to the US Energy Information Agency, two of the top five U.S. oil suppliers—Canada, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Mexico, and Nigeria—are in Latin America. Latin America supplies about 30% of U.S. total oil and petroleum imports (measured in annual barrels), almost doubling imports from the Persian Gulf (16%). Including Canada, imports from the Western Hemisphere represent over 75% of the US total.

More than forty percent of all tropical forest preserved on the planet is located in Brazil. These forests serve as the Earth’s lungs, absorbing carbon dioxide in its atmosphere, producing oxygen, and attenuating global warming. At the same time, Latin American forests are among the vastest sources of biodiversity available in the planet. This biodiversity is essential for the preservation of the genetic integrity of our species. It is also a storehouse of potential medicines and could hold the cure for our most deadly chronic illnesses.

Latin American Fact Sheet




All Events

Upcoming Events

Apply for the Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A Summer Educator Institute in Cuba

View Full Event Description

Teaching Cuban Culture & Society: A Summer Educator Institute in Cuba
Havana, Cuba | June 23 – July 7, 2018
Program Application
Application Deadline: March 2, 2018

Tulane University’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies and the Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute at Tulane University join forces with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies to take K-16 educators to Cuba. This is our fourth year running the Cuban Culture & Society K-16 Educator Institute and we are excited about this year’s itinerary. The institute will approach Cuban society and culture form a multidisciplinary perspective focused on the arts, the geography, and history of the country. Innovative programming and annual summer teacher institutes over the past three years provide the benefits of an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and studying the region. Taking advantage of Tulane’s relationship with the University of Havana and Cuba’s National Union of Writers and Artists, the institute equips teachers with multidisciplinary content, curricular resources, and methods of inquiry for developing that approach in their K-16 classrooms. Conducted in English by Professor Carolina Caballero, the institute will explore current trends and issues in Cuban culture and society through readings, films, and lectures. The program includes a series of talks by prominent Cuban intellectuals and local field trips to important political and cultural sights throughout Havana.

This two-week program provides the unique opportunity to work on developing lesson plans while exploring the sights and sounds of a nation and country that remain obscured behind political rhetoric and misinformation. Recent economic changes on the island have provoked a series of social and cultural transformations that have left Cubans and the entire world wondering what could be next for the island and the Revolution. Don’t miss the chance to witness some of these challenges and triumphs firsthand and get the opportunity to bring your experience back to your students in the classroom.

The trip will include a pre-departure orientation and two weeks in Cuba. The institute incorporates visits to local museums and exposes participants to arts organizations, schools, and teachers from the country’s national literacy campaign. Participants will stay within walking distance of the Malecón, the university, and many cultural venues. There will be group excursions to the historic Che Guevara monument, a visit to the site of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and a special visit to the town of Hershey, the town developed by Milton Hershey to begin his chocolate enterprise with the sugar from Cuba’s plantations. There will also be group excursions to the historic cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, Playa Girón, and Viñales, focusing on their role in the development of the economy and culture of the country

The cost will include a shared room and two meals a day, medical insurance, airfare to/from Havana from Tampa, Florida*, airport transportation in Havana to/from residence, OFAC-licensed academic visa, and specialized tours and outings.

*Airfare to/from Tampa, Florida, a one-night hotel stay in Tampa, incidental costs, and extra meals and expenses are not included in the program cost. You are responsible for your own air flight to/from Tampa, FL.

Those interested in applying must be a K-16 educator or librarian. There is no Spanish language requirement for this program. The application deadline is March 2, 2018, at 5:00 PM.

Please note: This program is only open to K-16 educators who are currently teaching, are pre-service teachers or are serving in a school or public library.

Please be advised that this itinerary is subject to change based on availability in Cuba. The itinerary below is the schedule from the 2017 institute.

  • Day 1 – U.S./HAVANA, CUBA
    Depart from Tampa, FL, Upon arrival, enjoy dinner and a welcome reception followed by an informal walk and people watching on the Malecón.
  • Day 2 – HAVANA
    Habana Vieja (Old Havana) Tour with local preservation experts to discuss in depth the history of local landmarks, historical preservation efforts, and future plans. Visit Muraleando Lawton, a community art project in the Lawton neighborhood of Havana. Hear from the founders of this project on how the neighborhood developed to promote skills in the community and support the local economy and meet with local community leaders, students and elderly folks at the community center.
  • Day 3 – HAVANA
    Lecture with Professor Carlos Alzugaray on Cuba Since the Special Period. Visit the elementary school Sergio Luis Ferriol in Habana Vieja. Connect with teachers and administrators about their experiences in the classroom.
  • Day 4 – HAVANA
    Visit the Museo Nacional de la Alfabetización (National Museum of the Literacy Campaign) and connect with members of the literacy brigade, teachers from the literacy campaign.
  • Day 5 – HAVANA
    Visit and explore Ernest Hemingway’s house. Have lunch in the infamous fishing village of Cojimar. In the afternoon, explore art by taking a tour of the Cuban Collection of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes accompanied by a curator then visit with artists at the Taller de Gráfica.
  • Day 6 – HERSHEY
    Day trip to the Hershey, Cuba and nature park. The site where famous chocolatier Milton Hershey developed his chocolate business by setting up sugar mills in the early 1900’s. Explore the natural side of Cuba in this country town.
  • Day 7 – HAVANA
    Learn about children’s literature and the book publishing business in Cuba by visiting Cuba’s national publisher UNEAC and hear first hand from children’s book authors. We will hear from children’s book author Olga Marta Pérez about the children’s/ youth Literacy Scene in Cuba today.
  • Day 8 – HAVANA/REGLA
    Take the ferry across the bay in Havana to the town of Regla to learn about Afro-Cuban dance and music from musicologist Cari Diez and an Afro-Cuban dance performance group.
    Travel to Trinidad via Santa Clara, a town founded by 175 people on July 15, 1689. It is the site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution in 1958. Visit to the Che Mausoleum in Santa Clara. Also visit the historic sugar plantation of Manaca Iznaga before arriving in Trinidad.
  • Day 10 – TRINIDAD
    Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, founded on December 23, 1514 by Diego Velázquez de Cuellar. Trinidad was a central piece of Cuba’s sugar-based economy. Guided city tour with the city historian. Visit the Trinidad library to learn about the importance of libraries and debate questions of intellectual freedom with the staff.
  • Day 11 – PLAYA GIRON (SITE OF BAY OF PIGS) Ciénega de Zapata, Playa Larga
    Day excursion to the historic site of the Bay of Pigs, one of the landing sites for the 1961 US-backed invasion. Visit the Finca Fiesta Campesina farm, the Playa Girón museum, the Parque Ciénaga de Zapata, the Laguna del Tesoro, and the Taino Indian village. Snorkel in the Bay of Pigs!
  • Day 12 – HAVANA
    Visit the U.S. Embassy and hear first-hand about the state of current relations between the U.S. and Cuba. In the afternoon, we head over to meet up with the famous hip-hop group, Obsesión to hear about their music and experience as hip-hop artists in Cuba.
    Take a day trip to Matanzas, the capital of the Cuban province of Matanzas. Known for its poets, culture, and Afro-Cuban folklore, we will explore the Triunvirato Plantation and the Castillo San Severino where we will hear about the history of slavery in Cuba. The rest of the afternoon we relax and explore the beautiful beaches of Varadero, a popular resort town covering Cuba’s narrow Hicacos Peninsula.
  • Day 14 – HAVANA
    Wrap-up curriculum workshop followed by a free afternoon ending in a celebratory dinner.
  • Day 15 – HAVANA/U.S.
    Morning departure for the U.S.

Explore our past trips through these photos and curricula:

Program Application

For more information, please contact Denise Woltering-Vargas at or call the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at 504-862-3143.