Released: May 26, 2011
Hispanics of Guatemalan Origin in the United States, 2009
An estimated 1.1 million Hispanics of Guatemalan origin resided in the United States in 2009, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Guatemalans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Guatemalan origin; this means either they themselves are Guatemalan immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Guatemala. Guatemalans are the sixth-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 2.2% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2009. Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 31.7 million, or 65.5%, of the Hispanic population in 2009.1
This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Guatemalan population with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on tabulations from the 2009 American Community Survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.2 Key facts include:
- Immigration status. Seven-in-ten Guatemalans (68%) in the United States are foreign born compared with 37% of Hispanics and 13% of the U.S. population overall. More than seven-in-ten immigrants from Guatemala (73%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. Nearly one quarter of Guatemalan immigrants (24%) are U.S. citizens.
- Language. Four-in-ten Guatemalans (39%) speak English proficiently.3 Some 61% of Guatemalans ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 37% of all Hispanics.
- Age. Guatemalans are younger than the U.S. population. The median age of Guatemalans is 27; the median age of the U.S. population is 36.
- Marital status. Less than half of Guatemalans (44%) and Hispanics overall (45%) are married.
- Fertility. Four-in-ten (41%) Guatemalan women ages 15 to 44 who gave birth in the 12 months prior to the survey were unmarried. That was similar to the rate for all Hispanic women—40%—and greater than the rate for U.S. women—35%.
- Regional dispersion. Four-in-ten Guatemalans (39%) live in the West, mostly in California (32%). One-third (33%) live in the South.
- Educational attainment. Guatemalans have lower levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Some 55% of Guatemalans ages 25 and older—compared with 39% of all U.S. Hispanics—have not obtained at least a high school diploma.
- Income. The median annual personal earnings for Guatemalans ages 16 and older were $17,000 in 2009; the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics and the U.S. population were $20,000 and $28,900, respectively.
- Poverty status. The share of Guatemalans who live in poverty, 26%, is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population (14%) and for all Hispanics (23%).
- Health Insurance. Nearly one-half of Guatemalans (48%) do not have health insurance compared with 31% of all Hispanics and 15% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 17% of Guatemalans younger than 18 are uninsured.
- Homeownership. The rate of Guatemalan homeownership (32%) is lower than the rate for all Hispanics (48%) and the U.S. population (66%) as a whole.
About the Data
This statistical profile of Hispanics of Guatemalan origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2009 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 2009 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 http://www.census.gov/acs/www/methodology/methodology_main/. 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, 2009)). 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/methodology/ASA_nelson.pdf, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/laborfor/laborfactsheet092209.html and http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/datasources/factsheet.html).