roadbikeRob saidThey will no longer be a minority in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida in the very near future.
That's a shaky prediction. Read my comment above, particularly #5 but also #2.
Actually I have never quite understood the term "Latino".
I have a neighbor whose ancestry is exclusively from Spain. His family spoke Spanish at home although they made sure that he learned English before starting school, so he is fully bilingual. His name could be either Spanish or Italian. He also has Jewish ancestry from Spain because some of his ancestors were secretly Jewish from the time the Jews and Muslims were expelled from Spain in 1492. Presumably he might be considered Latino, but he is definitely Caucasian. So, what is he? Does it really matter?
There are also Italians whose names could just as well be Spanish, but surely they would not be considered to be Latino.
The term "Latino" seems somewhat meaningless.
It's totally meaningless, and in fact some Latin Americans object to the term because it emphasizes the region's European heritage but ignores its American-Indian and African roots (Colombia, Panama, Brazil, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic all have large Black diasporas).
The Latins were originally a tribe that lived in Central Italy, in the region the Romans were to later call Latium in Classical Latin, which in Modern Italian is Lazio. It's where Rome is located. They were an Indo-European tribe that came to central Italy from the Balkans (present-day Yugoslavia...before it was Slavic), crossed the Adriatic and settled in central Italy.
Due to the Roman Empire, the Latin language spread to other areas. From Vulgar (colloquial) Latin came the various dialects of Italy, France, Romania, Iberia (Spain and Portugal), Wallonia (Belgium), and French/Italian Switzerland. During the 20th century, these dialects were merged into a handful of national and regional languages: Castilian/Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Standard French, Standard Italian, and Romanian-Moldovan through mass public education and mass media.
Spain and Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries built empires which especially had a long-lasting linguistic effect in the Americas. But even after independence, as recently as the 1860s, most Mexicans still spoke indigenous languages. The Mexican government strongly discouraged the indigenous languages, and promoted Spanish (Mexican variety) as the national, unifying language of the modern republic. In other countries, like Brazil and Argentina, the populations were mostly immigrant, like in the US (European in Argentina, and European-African in Brazil), and these immigrant populations assimilated into Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking society. Although some German-speaking communities lingered in parts of Brazil and Argentina for decades.
The term "Latin America" wasn't coined until around the 1850s/1860s, and was especially promoted by France (under Napoleon III), which was building its own empire in Africa and Southeast Asia, and was looking to expand in the Americas. France promoted this idea of a "Latin" America, different from Anglo America (USA, Canada, and British Caribbean), and that this "Latin America" should, naturally, come under the influence of Latin France. Didn't quite work out as Latin Americans had just gotten rid of their Spanish rulers, they weren't looking for a new colonial ruler. (In 1864, France installed puppet-emperor Maximilian I in Mexico, who was overthrown by the Mexicans, hence this is what they observe on Cinco de Mayo...although they don't get drunk, that's only in the popular imagination of Americans).
As for Spain-Italy: Southern Italy was, for a season, ruled by Spain. It's certainly possible that there's Italians with Spanish last names, and indeed isn't all that uncommon. Nor Spaniards with Italian last names. Thing is, Americans think that the other countries of the world don't interact with each other...we have this Americentric perspective. And it has a Eurocentric twist. We don't realize how similar Spain and Italy (and France) are to each other, and that European countries as a whole, even between Teutonic Europe, Slavic Europe, and Greco-Roman Europe, interact with each other far more than they do with the US...yet we lump all of Latin America together, despite the fact that Argentina has almost nothing in common with Guatemala, and that Brazil is more similar to the United States than it is to Ecuador.
The term "Hispanic" first appeared in the US Census in 1970. It was an old, forgotten medieval word that referred to the culture and civilization of Spain (and "Lusitanic" referred to the culture and civilization of Portugal). The US resurrected it to refer to -and lump together- Spanish-speakers.
Nor are all Hispanics immigrants. South Texans trace their ancestry to Mexicans that were already living there before the US took it over. New Mexico has a small population descended from Spaniards living there before the US took it over (via Mexico). Puerto Rico is a Spanish-speaking Caribbean island that the US took from Spain in 1898.