July 13, 2009

Hispanics of Puerto Rican Origin in the United States, 2007

Fact Sheet

Some 4.1 million Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin resided in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in 2007, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That is a slightly greater number than the population of Puerto Rico itself in 2007, which was 3.9 million. Puerto Ricans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin; this means either they themselves are Puerto Rican immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Puerto Rico. This statistical profile focuses on the characteristics of Puerto Ricans residing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, henceforth the United States.1

Most Puerto Ricans in the United States — 2.7 million in all — were born in the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Additionally, one-third of the Puerto Rican population in the U.S. — 1.4 million — was born in Puerto Rico. People born in Puerto Rico are also considered native born because they are U.S. citizens by birth. A small number of Puerto Ricans — 48,000 — were born outside of the U.S. or Puerto Rico and were not U.S. citizens by birth. They are considered foreign born.

Puerto Ricans are the second-largest population of Hispanic origin residing in the United States, accounting for 9.1% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2007. Mexicans constituted 29.2 million, or 64.3%, of the Hispanic population.

As a group, Puerto Ricans are older than Hispanics on average but they are younger than the U.S. population. They are less likely to be married than either Hispanics overall or the U.S. population overall. The majority (55.9%) of Puerto Rican women ages 15 to 44 who had a birth in the 12 months prior to the survey were unmarried. The comparable share for all Hispanic women was 38.1% and the figure for all U.S. women was 33.4%.

Among Puerto Ricans ages 5 and older living in the U.S., most do not speak only English at home. Some 20.5% of Puerto Ricans ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 38.8% of all Hispanics. Puerto Ricans are concentrated in the Northeast, mostly in New York, and in the South, mostly in Florida.

Puerto Ricans have lower levels of education and lower incomes than average for the U.S. population. They are less likely to be in the labor force, and among those in the labor force they have a higher rate of unemployment than either all Hispanics or the overall population. The rate of homeownership among Puerto Ricans is lower than the rate for Hispanics overall and the U.S. population overall.

About the Data

This statistical profile of Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2007 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of about 3 million addresses. The data used for this statistical profile come from 2007 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), representing a 1% sample of the U.S. population.

Like any survey, estimates from the ACS are subject to sampling error and (potentially) measurement error. Information on the ACS sampling strategy and associated error is available at www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/accuracy2007.pdf. An example of measurement error is that citizenship rates for the foreign born are estimated to be overstated in the Decennial Census and other official surveys, such as the ACS (see Jeffrey Passel. “Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization,” Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2007)). Finally, estimates from the ACS may differ from the Decennial Census or other Census Bureau surveys due to differences in methodology and data collection procedures (see, for example, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/Report10.pdf and http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/ASA_nelson.pdf).

Cite this publication: . “Hispanics of Puerto Rican Origin in the United States, 2007.” Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C. (July 13, 2009) http://www.pewhispanic.org/2009/07/13/hispanics-of-puerto-rican-origin-in-the-united-states-2007/, accessed on July 23, 2014.

  1. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, but all references to the United States in this profile refer to the 50 states and the District of Columbia.