April 19, 2016

Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States

There were 55.3 million Hispanics in the United States in 2014, comprising 17.3% of the total U.S. population. In 1980, with a population of 14.8 million, Hispanics made up just 6.5% of the total U.S. population. Read the accompanying report, “The Nation’s Latino Population Is Defined by Its Youth.”

For a statistical portrait of the Foreign-born population in the United States, click here.

Click on the charts below to explore Hispanic population trends with an interactive version of the chart.

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The Hispanic Population, by Nativity

Date U.S born Foreign born
1960 5.5 0.9
1970 7.8 1.8
1980 10.6 4.2
1990 14.0 7.8
2000 21.1 14.1
2006 26.6 17.7
2007 27.3 18.0
2008 29.0 17.8
2009 30.3 18.1
2010 31.9 18.8
2011 33.1 18.8
2012 34.1 18.8
2013 35.0 19.0
2014 35.9 19.3

Source: For 1960 and 1970, see Passel and Cohn’s 2008 population projections. For 1980-2000, Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Decennial Census data (5% IPUMS). For 2006-2014, Pew Research Center analysis of American Community Survey (1% IPUMS).

Pew Research Center

Since 1960, the nation’s Latino population has increased nearly ninefold, from 6.3 million then to 55.3 million by 2014. It is projected to grow to 119 million by 2060, according to the latest projections from the U.S. Census Bureau (2014). The foreign-born Latino population has increased by more than 20 times over the past half century, from less than 1 million in 1960 to 19.3 million in 2014. On the other hand, while the U.S.-born Latino population has only increased sixfold over this time period, there are about 30 million more U.S.-born Latinos in the U.S. today (35.9 million) than there were in 1960 (5.5 million).

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Hispanics are a Rising Share of the U.S. Population

Date White Other Asian Black Hispanic
1960 85.2 0.2 0.6 10.5 3.5
1970 83.1 0.4 0.9 10.9 4.7
1980 79.6 0.8 1.5 11.6 6.5
1990 75.8 1.0 2.7 11.8 8.8
2000 69.1 2.8 3.6 12.0 12.5
2006 66.2 2.5 4.3 12.2 14.8
2007 65.8 2.6 4.3 12.1 15.0
2008 65.4 2.7 4.4 12.1 15.4
2009 64.9 2.8 4.4 12.1 15.7
2010 63.7 3.0 4.7 12.3 16.4
2011 63.3 3.1 4.8 12.3 16.7
2012 62.8 3.1 4.9 12.3 16.9
2013 62.4 3.2 5.0 12.3 17.1
2014 61.9 3.2 5.2 12.3 17.3

Source: For 1960 and 1970, see Passel and Cohn’s 2008 population projections. For 1980-2000, Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. decennial census data (5% IPUMS). For 2006-2014, Pew Research Center analysis of American Community Survey (1% IPUMS).

Pew Research Center

The share of the population that is Hispanic has been steadily increasing over the past half century. In 2014, Hispanics made up 17.3% of the total U.S. population, up from 3.5% in 1960. According to the latest projections from the U.S. Census Bureau (2014), the Hispanic share of the U.S. population is expected to reach 28.6% by 2060.

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Share Foreign Born Among Hispanics

Date % all Hispanics % adult Hispanics
1960 13.8 25.2
1970 18.3 28.1
1980 28.3 38.7
1990 35.7 47.5
2000 40.1 54.0
2006 39.9 54.9
2007 39.8 55.0
2008 38.1 53.3
2009 37.4 52.7
2010 37.1 52.0
2011 36.2 50.7
2012 35.5 49.8
2013 35.2 49.3
2014 34.9 48.7

Source: For 1960 and 1970, see Passel and Cohn’s 2008 population projections. For 1980-2000, Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. decennial census data (5% IPUMS). For 2006-2014, Pew Research Center analysis of American Community Survey (1% IPUMS).

Pew Research Center

After increasing for at least four decades, the share of the Hispanic population that is foreign born began declining after 2000. Among all Hispanics, the share that was born in another country was 34.9% in 2014, down from a peak of about 40% earlier in the 2000s. The share of adult Hispanics who are foreign born began declining a bit later—48.7% of Hispanic adults were born in another country in 2014, down from a peak of 55.0% in 2007.

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Share Mexican Origin Among the U.S. Hispanic Population

Date Mexican Origin Non-Mexican Hispanics
1850 73.8% 26.2%
1860 81.1% 18.9%
1870 76.6% 23.4%
1880 75.2% 24.8%
1900 72.9% 27.1%
1910 75.7% 24.3%
1920 77.3% 22.7%
1930 77.6% 22.4%
1940 75.6% 24.4%
1950 73.8% 26.2%
1960 69.5% 30.5%
1970 60.7% 39.3%
1980 59.4% 40.6%
1990 61.2% 38.8%
2000 59.3% 40.7%
2006 64.1% 35.9%
2007 64.3% 35.7%
2008 65.7% 34.3%
2009 65.5% 34.5%
2010 64.9% 35.1%
2011 64.6% 35.4%
2012 64.2% 35.8%
2013 64.1% 35.9%
2014 64.0% 36.0%

Source: For 1850-2000, Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Decennial Census data (5% IPUMS). For 2006-2014, Pew Research Center analysis of American Community Survey (1% IPUMS).

Pew Research Center

Mexican-origin Hispanics have always been the largest Hispanic-origin group in the U.S. In 1860, for example, among the 155,000 Hispanics living in the U.S., 81.1% were of Mexican origin—a historic high. Since then the origins of the nation’s Hispanic population have diversified as growing numbers of immigrants from other Latin American nations and Puerto Rico settled in the U.S. For example, between 1930 and 1980, Hispanics from places other than Mexico nearly doubled their representation among U.S. Hispanics, from 22.4% to 40.6%. But with the arrival of large numbers of Mexican immigrants in the 1980s and 1990s, the Mexican share among Hispanics grew, rising to a recent peak of 65.7% in 2008 and staying about steady since then.

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Sources of Hispanic Population Growth, by Decade

Date U.S. births Immigration
1970s 3.1 3.1
1980s 4.4 5.6
1990s 7.0 8.1
2000s 9.6 6.5
2010-2014 3.9 1.4

Note: U.S. births and immigrations reflect additions to the U.S. Hispanic population. Deaths and emigration not shown.

Source: Based on Pew Research Center tabulations of 2014 American Community Survey (1% IPUMS) for 2010-2014, and of the 2010 American Community Survey (1% IPUMS) for 2000s. Data for 1970s, 1980s and 1990s drawn from Pew Research Center historical projections (Passel and Cohn, 2008).

Pew Research Center

Between 1980 and 2000, immigration was the main driver of Latino population growth as the Latino immigrant population boomed from 4.2 million to 14.1 million. However since 2000, the primary source of Latino population growth has swung from immigration to native births. Between 2000 and 2010, there were 9.6 million Latino births in the U.S., while the number of newly arrived immigrants was 6.5 million. Overall, U.S. births alone accounted for 60% of Latino population growth from births and immigration only during the period. So far, the present decade is on track to repeat this pattern, with 3.9 million Latino births in the U.S. between 2010 and 2014, compared with just 1.4 million newly arrived Latino immigrants.

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English Proficiency Among Hispanics

Year U.S. born Foreign born All Hispanics
1980 71.9% 30.7% 59.0%
1990 78.2% 33.5% 60.7%
2000 81.1% 31.8% 59.3%
2010 87.9% 31.5% 64.8%
2013 89.1% 34.2% 67.8%
2014 89.4% 34.4% 68.4%

Note: Respondents are asked if they speak a language besides English at home. If they answer yes, they are asked how well they speak English.

Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses (5% IPUMS) and 2010, 2013 and 2014 American Community Surveys (1% IPUMS).

Pew Research Center

English proficiency is rising among Hispanics ages 5 and older. In 2014, 68.4% of Hispanics said they speak only English at home or indicate that they speak English “very well”, up from 59% who said the same in 1980. Most of this growth has been driven by U.S.-born Hispanics, whose English proficiency share has grown from 71.9% in 1980 to 89.4% in 2014. By contrast, English proficiency among foreign-born Hispanics has seen little change over the same period. In 2014, just 34.4% of foreign-born Hispanics speak only English at home or speak English “very well”, a slight increase from 30.7% in 1980.

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