online book
Xavier Timoteo Martinez
Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California



Mexican War
World War II
Chicano Movement
current topic Future

Historic Sites
Selected References


A History of Mexican Americans in California:

Unquestionably, Chicanos and other Hispanics will play increasingly important roles in California's future, if for no other reason than numbers alone. Since World War II, Mexican immigration has remained at a constantly significant level. While the Bracero Program and the entry of countless numbers of undocumented workers have received the most scholarly and journalistic attention, there has been a parallel increase in immigration of Mexicans with permanent visas. During the past decade, in particular, there has also been a sharp increase in immigrants from Central America and South America.

Along with this continuous immigration from Latin America, the number of U.S.-born Latinos in California continues too rise. Birth rates and family size among Hispanics continue to be larger than the U.S. average, although recent years have witnessed a decline in the Hispanic birth rate. Moreover, the Hispanic population is considerably younger than the over all U.S. population, another indicator of potential future population in crease. One reflection of the changing demographic face of California is the fact that Hispanics now compose about half of all kindergarten students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the state's largest district, while other school districts are reporting equally dramatic increases in His panics.

But numbers alone do not tell the story. While progress has generally been slow, Chicanos and other Hispanics are now making strides in education, political sophistication, and effectiveness for constructive societal change. Their ability too accomplish this change should be further strengthened as pan-Hispanic identity among various Latino national-origin groups becomes a greater reality. These three factors — numerical growth, developing skills and awareness, and greater pan-Hispanic identity — make it almost certain that Hispanics will have an unprecedented influence over the future of California.

Sixteenth Street Victoria Theatre
Sixteenth Street Victoria Theatre, San Francisco County

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Last Modified: Wed, Nov 17 2004 10:00:00 pm PDT

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