September 18, 2017

Facts on U.S. Latinos, 2015

Statistical portrait of Hispanics in the United States

There were 56.5 million Hispanics in the United States in 2015, accounting for 17.6% 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 blog post, “How the U.S. Hispanic population is changing.”

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.

Hispanic Population Share of U.S. Population Share Foreign Born
Share Mexican Origin Hispanic Population Growth Hispanic English Proficiency


Hispanic population, by nativity

Year 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
2015 37.1 19.4

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 2006-2015, 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 56.5 million by 2015. It is projected to grow to 107 million by 2065, according to the latest Pew Research Center projections. The foreign-born Latino population has increased to nearly 20 times its size over the past half century, from less than 1 million in 1960 to 19.4 million in 2015. On the other hand, while the U.S.-born Latino population has only increased sixfold over this time period, there are about 32 million more U.S.-born Latinos in the U.S. today (37.1 million) than there were in 1960 (5.5 million).

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Hispanics are a rising share of the U.S. population

Year 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%
2015 61.5% 3.3% 5.3% 12.3% 17.6%

Note: In 1960-1970, Asians include Pacific Islanders.
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 U.S. population that is Hispanic has been steadily rising over the past half century. In 2015, Hispanics made up 17.6% of the total U.S. population, up from 3.5% in 1960. According to the latest Pew Research Center projections, the Hispanic share of the U.S. population is expected to reach 24% by 2065.

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Foreign-born share declining among Hispanics

Year 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%
2015 34.4% 47.9%

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 2006-2015, 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 34.4% in 2015, 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 – 47.9% of Hispanic adults were born in another country in 2015, down from a peak of 55.0% in 2007.

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Mexican-origin share among U.S. Hispanics declining

Year 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%
2015 63.3% 36.7%

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, but declining since.

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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
2010-2015 5.0 1.9

Pew Research Center

Between 1980 and 2000, immigration was the principal driver of Latino population growth as the Latino immigrant population boomed from 4.2 million to 14.1 million. Since then, however, the primary source of this growth has been U.S. 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. The present decade is on track to repeat this pattern, with 5 million Latino births in the U.S. between 2010 and 2015, compared with just 1.9 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%
2015 89.7% 34.6% 69.0%

Pew Research Center

English proficiency is rising among Hispanics ages 5 and older. In 2015, 69% 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 89.7% in 2015. By contrast, English proficiency among foreign-born Hispanics has seen little change over the same period. In 2015, just 34.6% of foreign-born Hispanics reported that they speak only English at home or speak English “very well”, a slight increase from 30.7% in 1980.

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