April 22, 2010

Hispanics of Puerto Rican Origin in the United States, 2008

Fact Sheet

A total of 4.2 million Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin resided in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in 2008, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That is a slightly greater number than the population of Puerto Rico itself in 2008, which was 4.0 million. Puerto Ricans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin; this means either they themselves were born in Puerto Rico 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

Puerto Ricans are the second-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 8.9% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2008. Mexicans constituted 30.7 million, or 65.7%, of the Hispanic population.2 This profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of Puerto Ricans with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the 2008 American Community Survey. Key facts include:

About the Data

This statistical profile of Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2008 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 2008 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/accuracy2008.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, 2008)). 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).

  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.
  2. Percentages are computed before numbers are rounded.
  3. Puerto Ricans ages 5 and older who report speaking only English at home or speaking English very well.