In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Hispanic Childhoods (U.S.)

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Reference Resources
  • Journals
  • Family
  • Latino Cultural Values
  • Health
  • Latino Sociology
  • Language
  • Language and Test Results
  • Poverty

Childhood Studies Hispanic Childhoods (U.S.)
Alejandro E. Brice
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 December 2022
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791231-0101


Hispanics, or Latinos (these two terms are used interchangeably throughout this article), are the largest minority in the United States. Hispanic children make up 22 percent of the US population under five years of age. The United States continues to undergo a language and cultural shift as a result of changing demographics. Hispanic births from Mexican American parents have overtaken Mexican immigration. The largest concentration of Hispanics consists of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Cubans, Dominicans, and others. Consequently, multiple factors today are affecting Hispanic children (immigration, US births, education, socioeconomic status, culture, upbringing, etc.). Therefore, information regarding Hispanic childhoods is of great concern for all professionals who serve this population. Hispanic or Latino children in the United States experience difficulties that are unique and different from those faced by white children, African American (i.e.,  black) children, other ethnically diverse children, and mostly children from middle socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds in the United States. These differences arise from childcare differences, family and cultural differences, health-related issues, language differences, poverty issues, and factors associated with schools and classrooms. It cannot be stressed enough that all of these interrelated factors influence Hispanic childhoods in the United States.

General Overviews

Most professionals agree that childhood covers all aspects of speech, language, cognitive, physical, emotional, cultural, emotional, and social development of children. Hispanics are a heterogeneous collection of individuals from various cultures and diverse backgrounds. When speaking of Hispanic childhoods, this becomes an assortment of multiple and intertwining factors (language, childcare, family, health, socioeconomics, schooling and education, culture, societal, and other factors). Brice 2002 approaches this issue from the perspectives of speech, language, and culture. Brice addresses Hispanic childhoods through language, development, education, and sociocultural factors that affect Hispanic children. The textbook is a resource for teachers, special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, and other professionals in school settings. Delgado-Gaitan 2004 approaches this issue from the perspectives of Hispanic families, classrooms, family and school participation, involvement programs and community partnerships.

  • Brice, A. The Hispanic Child: Speech, Language, Culture and Education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2002.

    Addresses the struggles of Hispanic children in the United States. The book offers practical suggestions in the form of “best practices.”

  • Delgado-Gaitan, C. Involving Latino Families in Schools. Raising Achievement through Home-School Partnerships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 2004.

    Concha Delgado-Gaitan is an award-winning qualitative ethnographic researcher. The foundation for this book comes from her experience as a teacher and principal. Her work has also involved family and community literacy. This book offers activities, case examples, and vignettes for parental participation programs that will benefit classroom instruction for Latino students.

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