A recent report from the Pew Hispanic Center profiles the 10 largest Hispanic populations in the United States by country of origin, drawing on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey. Currently, the nation’s population of 304.1 million includes 46.8 million Hispanics. Respondents to the survey self-identified their country of origin as the country from which they immigrated or the country from which they trace their family ancestry.
The largest Hispanic population, at 30.7 million, is of Mexican origin,accounting for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s Hispanics. The secondlargest Hispanic group, with 4.2 million, hails from Puerto Rico. Hispanics of Cuban origin comprise the third-largest group, at 1.6 million, with Salvadorans a close fourth at just under 1.6 million. Hispanics of Dominican origin comprise 1.3 million of the nation’s population, accounting for the fifth-largest Hispanic population. The sixth- through 10th-largest Hispanic populations, in descending order, are Guatemalans at 986,000, Colombians at 882,000, Hondurans at 608,000, Ecuadorians at 591,000 and Peruvians at 519,000.
The report details various demographic characteristics of each of the 10 groups, providing some interesting similarities as well as points of departure.
Hispanics of Mexican Origin: 30.7 Million
About 40 percent of Mexicans in the United States are foreign-born; of those, almost two-thirds immigrated in 1990 or later. Only 22 percent of immigrants are U.S. citizens. The majority of the country’s Hispanics of Mexican origin live in two states – 37 percent reside in California, and 25 percent live in Texas. More than 60 percent of Hispanics of Mexican origin speak English proficiently, higher than any other Hispanic group. However, Mexicans have lower levels of education than the Hispanic population overall with just 9 percent earning at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 12.9 percent of all U.S. Hispanics.
Educational attainment hasn’t seemed to affect homeownership of this group: a little more than 50 percent own a home, about the same as the rate for all Hispanics, 49.1 percent. Hispanics of Mexican origin earn slightly less than the median annual salary of all U.S. Hispanics, $20,368 compared to $21,488. Mexicans are also slightly less likely to have health insurance than the Hispanic population as a whole, 34.8 percent compared to 31.7 percent.
Hispanics of Puerto Rican Origin: 4.2 Million
Nearly as many Puerto Ricans live in the United States as live in Puerto Rico itself, which had a population of four million in 2008. Most of the Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. were born here, with 1.3 million identifying as born in Puerto Rico. However, because Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., those born in Puerto Rico are considered native born to the United States. More than 80 percent of Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin speak English proficiently, so it is not surprising that they also have higher levels of educational attainment than U.S. Hispanics overall, as well as a higher median income. Interestingly, Puerto Ricans are less likely to own a home compared to all U.S. Hispanics, 40.3 percent compared to 49.1 percent. Slightly more than half, 55 percent, of the country’s Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin live in the Northeast, mostly in New York, 26 percent. A third of Puerto Ricans live in the South, mostly in Florida.
Hispanics of Cuban Origin: 1.6 Million
Six in 10 Cubans are foreign-born, compared with 38 percent of all U.S. Hispanics; 58 percent are U.S. citizens. Most immigrants, 57 percent, arrived in the U.S. before 1990. Cubans are the most geographically concentrated group of all Hispanics, with close to 70 percent residing in Florida. Nearly 60 percent of Hispanics of Cuban origin speak English proficiently. In addition, one-quarter of all Cubans have attained at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 12.9 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population as a whole. Thanks to the boost in earning power a college degree provides, Cubans have higher-than-average annual incomes compared to U.S. Hispanics as a whole, $26,478 compared to $21,488. They also own homes at a higher rate than all Hispanics with nearly 60 percent of Cubans being homeowners.
Hispanics of Salvadoran Origin: 1.6 Million
Salvadorans represent the fourth-largest population of Hispanics living in the United States; nearly two-thirds are foreign-born, and more than half, 58.4 percent, arrived in this country in 1990 or later. Just under 30 percent of Salvadoran immigrants are U.S. citizens. Only 44 percent speak English proficiently; consequently, Hispanics of Salvadoran origin are less likely to graduate from high school, with just 47 percent earning a diploma. Annual income is lower than the average for all U.S. Hispanics with Salvadorans earning just $20,368 on average, but home-ownership rates are 46 percent, only slightly below the rate for all U.S. Hispanics, which is 49.1 percent. More than half of all Hispanics of Salvadoran origin live in two states: 37.5 percent reside in California, and another 14.3 percent reside in Texas. Four in 10 Salvadorans lack health insurance as compared with 31.7 percent of all U.S. Hispanics and 15.4 percent of the general population.
Hispanics of Dominican Origin: 1.3 Million
Dominicans are more likely to be foreign-born than all U.S. Hispanics: nearly six in 10 are foreign born compared to 38 percent of the entire U.S. Hispanic population. About 57 percent arrived in the U.S. after 1990, and almost half of Dominican immigrants are U.S. citizens. Slightly more than half, 53 percent, speak English proficiently, and educational attainment among Dominicans is slightly higher than that of all U.S. Hispanics. Sixteen percent of Dominicans have earned at least a four-year degree compared with 12.9 percent of all U.S. Hispanics. However, Dominicans earn slightly less than the average Hispanic salary, $20,571 compared to $21,488. This may explain why Dominican homeownership, 28.3 percent, is lower than that of all U.S. Hispanics, 49.1 percent. Another possible factor – nearly 80 percent of Hispanics of Dominican origin live in more expensive areas of the Northeast, with 50 percent living in New York. Slightly less than one-quarter of Dominicans lack health insurance compared with 31.7 percent of all Hispanics.
Hispanics of Guatemalan Origin: 986,000
Close to one million Hispanics of Guatemalan origin comprise the sixthlargest population of Hispanics living in the U.S. Nearly 70 percent are foreign- born; of these, 70 percent arrived in the country after 1990. About 24 percent are U.S. citizens. Only about 39 percent of Guatemalans speak English proficiently, and more than half, 53.6 percent, have not completed high school. Guatemalans earn significantly less than the median income for all U.S. Hispanics with the annual personal income reported at $19,349; one in two do not have health insurance. The homeownership rate for Hispanics of Guatemalan origin is also much lower than the rate for all U.S. Hispanics, 35.6 percent compared to 49.1 percent. A large portion of Guatemalans, 40 percent, lives in the West, with 34 percent concentrated mostly in California and another third of their U.S.-based population residing in the South. Hispanics of Colombian Origin: 882,000
Two-thirds of Colombians living in the United States are foreign-born, and close to 50 percent are U.S. citizens. About 60 percent arrived in the country in 1990 or later. Close to 58 percent speak English proficiently, and Colombians have higher levels of educational attainment than U.S Hispanics as a whole, with 30 percent earning a bachelor’s degree or higher. Income levels are also higher than the average for all U.S. Hispanics, with the median annual personal income reported at $25,460. Homeownership levels are higher as well, at 53 percent. Nearly half of all Colombians in this country are concentrated in the South, with almost onethird living in Florida. Another large portion, 37 percent, lives in the Northeast, mostly in New York, 16 percent, and New Jersey, 13 percent. About 25 percent of all Colombians are without health insurance. Hispanics of Honduran Origin: 608,000
Close to 70 percent of Hondurans are foreign-born, with nearly threefourths immigrating in 1990 or later. Just 22 percent of Honduran immigrants are U.S. citizens. Only 40 percent of Hispanics of Honduran origin speak English proficiently, and only half have earned a high school diploma. Consequently, income for Hondurans is less than the average for all U.S. Hispanics at $19,349, and close to half of the Hondurans living in this country do not have health insurance. Homeownership rates among Hondurans are around 34 percent; the population is concentrated in the South, with 55 percent living in either Florida or Texas. Other pockets of Hondurans are found in California and New York.
Hispanics of Peruvian Origin: 519,000
Foreign-born Peruvians comprise 70 percent of all the Hispanics of Peruvian origin, with two-thirds arriving in the country in 1990 or later. About 42 percent of Peruvian immigrants have U.S. citizenship, and 54 percent speak English proficiently. Close to 30 percent of Peruvians living in the U.S. have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree, and average income levels for this group reflect that: the annual salary averages $24,441. However, about 30 percent of Peruvians do not have health insurance. Peruvians own homes at about the same rate for all Hispanics, 50.1 percent compared to 49.1 percent. The Peruvian population is more geographically dispersed than the other Hispanic groups, with 20 percent living in Florida, 17 percent in California and another 25 percent of the population evenly distributed between New York and New Jersey.
Points of Analysis
Excluding Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, the majority of each Hispanic group by country of origin is foreign-born, ranging between 60 percent and 70 percent. However, three groups are more likely to be U.S citizens: Cubans, 58 percent; Colombians, 49 percent; and Dominicans, 47 percent. Cubans and Puerto Ricans have the highest annual income of all U.S. Hispanics at $26,478, followed by Colombians at $25,460 and Peruvians at $24,441.
Guatemalans and Hondurans have the lowest annual income at $19,300 and $19,400, respectively, as well as the highest likelihood of being uninsured, 48 percent and 49 percent, respectively. Peruvians and Colombians are most likely to have graduated from a four-year college, 30 percent, followed by Cubans at 25 percent. Ecuadorans, 18 percent; Dominicans, 16 percent; and Puerto Ricans, 13 percent, round out the top six groups for college-degree attainment. Within each of the four remaining groups, less than 10 percent earn a bachelor’s degree: Mexicans, 9 percent; Hondurans, 8 percent; Salvadorans, 5 percent; and Guatemalans, 3 percent.
Cubans, Colombians, Mexicans and Peruvians have the highest homeownership rates, 60 percent, 53 percent, 50.5 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Interestingly, despite the fact that in the U.S., the majority of Mexicans, 63 percent, are born here, and that 62 percent speak English proficiently, their earnings are less than the average for all U.S. Hispanics, $20,400, and more than one-third do not have health insurance. However, they are more likely to own a home than six of the 10 groups.