In the 2000 census, 35.3 million persons in the United States and 3.8
million persons in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico identified themselves as
Hispanic (i.e., Hispanic, Spanish, or Latino; of all races). Hispanics constituted
12.5% of the U.S. population in the 50 states; by subpopulation, they identified
as Mexican (7.3%), Puerto Rican (1.2%), Cuban (0.4%), and other Hispanic (3.6%).1 For certain health conditions, Hispanics bear a disproportionate
burden of disease, injury, death, and disability when compared with non-Hispanic
whites, the largest racial/ethnic population in the United States. The leading
causes of death among Hispanics vary from those for non-Hispanic whites (Table).
This week’s MMWR is the second in a series
focusing on racial/ethnic health disparities; eliminating these disparities
will require culturally appropriate public health initiatives, community support,
and equitable access to quality health care.