U.S. Department of Commerce
Economics and Statistics Administration
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
Issued May 2011
The Hispanic Population: 2010
2010 Census Briefs
By Sharon R. Ennis, Merarys Ríos-Vargas, and Nora G. Albert
This report looks at an important part of our nation’s changing ethnic diversity. It is part of a series that analyzes population and housing data collected from the 2010 Census, and it provides a snapshot of the Hispanic or Latino population in the United States. Hispanic population group distributions and growth at the national level and at lower levels
of geography are presented.
This report also provides an overview of ethnicity concepts and definitions used in the 2010 Census. The data for this report are based on the 2010 Census Summary File 1, which is among the first 2010 Census data products to be released and is provided for each state.
UNDERSTANDING HISPANIC ORIGIN DATA FROM THE 2010 CENSUS
For the 2010 Census, the question on Hispanic origin was asked of individuals living in the United States. An individual’s response to the Hispanic origin question was based upon self-identification. The U.S. Census Bureau collects Hispanic origin information following the guidance of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) 1997Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity.These federal standards mandate that race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin) are separate and distinct concepts and that when collecting these data via self-identification, two different questions must be used.
The OMB definition of Hispanic or Latino origin used in the 2010 Census is presented in the text box “Definition of Hispanic or Latino Origin Used in the 2010 Census.” OMB requires federal agencies to use a minimum of two ethnicities: Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino. Hispanic origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person’s parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be any race. The question on Hispanic origin was first introduced in the 1970 Census, and subsequently a version of the question has been included in every census since. Spanish sur-name, place of birth, and Spanish mother tongue responses were also
used as identifiers of the Hispanic population in the 1970 Census and were the only Hispanic identifiers in prior censuses. Over the last 40 years the question on Hispanic
origin has undergone numerous changes and modifications, all with the aim of improving the quality of Hispanic origin data in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Island Areas.
The 2010 Census question on Hispanic origin included five separate response categories
and one area where respondents could write in a specific Hispanic origin group. The first response category is intended for respondents who do not identify as Hispanic. The remaining response categories (“Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicano;” “Puerto Rican;” “Cuban;” and “Another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin”) and write-in answers can be combined to create data for the OMB category of Hispanic.
Data from the 2010 Census provide insights to our ethnically diverse nation. According to the 2010 Census, 308.7 million people resided in the United States on April 1, 2010, of which 50.5 million (or 16 percent) were of Hispanic or Latino origin. The Hispanic population increased from 35.3 million in 2000 when this group made up 13 percent of the
total population. The majority of the growth in the total population came from increases in those who reported their ethnicity as Hispanic or Latino.
More than half of the growth in the total population of the United States between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase in the Hispanic population.
The Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010, accounting for over half of the 27.3 million increase in the total population of the United States. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, which was four times the growth in the total population at 10 percent.
Population growth between 2000 and 2010 varied by Hispanic group. The Mexican origin population increased by 54 percent and had the largest numeric change (11.2 million), growing from 20.6 million in 2000 to 31.8 million in 2010. Mexicans accounted for about
three-quarters of the 15.2 million increase in the Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010. Puerto Ricans grew by 36 percent, increasing from 3.4 million to 4.6 million. The Cuban population increased by 44 percent, growing from 1.2 million in 2000 to 1.8 million in 2010.
Hispanics who reported other origins increased by 22 percent, from 10.0 million to 12.3 million.
Other Hispanic origins refer to a variety of identifications.
Among the 12.3 million Hispanics who were classified as Other Hispanic in 2010, 1.4 million were of Dominican origin, 4.0 million were of Central American origin (other than Mexican), 2.8 million were of South American origin, 635,000 were Spaniard, and 3.5 million reported general terms such as “Hispanic” or “Latino.” Among Central American Hispanics (excluding Mexicans), those of Salvadoran origin were the largest group at 1.6 million, followed by Guatemalans (1.0 million) and Hondurans (633,000). Of the South American Hispanic population, those of Colombian origin were the largest group at 909,000, followed by Ecuadorians at 565,000 and Peruvians at 531,000.
Although people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban origin were the largest detailed Hispanic groups, they grew at slower rates than the other detailed groups. Over the decade, the Spaniard population showed the largest percent increase. The Spaniard population in 2010 was more than six times larger than reported in 2000, increasing from 100,000 to 635,000. Other Hispanic groups with origins from Central and South America (Uruguayan, Honduran, Guatemalan, Salvadoran, Bolivian, Venezuelan, Paraguayan, Peruvian, Argentinean, and Ecuadorian) also showed large percent increases, increasing to more than twice their population sizes from 2000 to 2010. All detailed Hispanic groups
showed large percentage increases between 2000 and 2010. On the other hand, the “Other Central American,” “Other South American,” and “All other Hispanic or Latino”
groups—which include general terms such as Central American, South American, and Latino—experienced large percentage decreases during this period.
The “Other Central American” group declined from about 104,000 in 2000 to 32,000 in 2010, decreasing 70 percent. The “Other South American” group decreased from about 58,000 to 22,000 (down 62 percent). The “All other Hispanic or Latino” group decreased by 44 percent, from 6.1 million in 2000 to 3.5 million in 2010.
About three-quarters of Hispanics reported as Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban origin.
In 2010, people of Mexican origin comprised the largest Hispanic group, representing 63 percent of the total Hispanic population in the United States (up from 58 percent in 2000). The second largest group was Puerto Rican, which comprised 9 percent of the Hispanic population in 2010 (down from 10 percent in 2000). The Cuban population represented approximately 4 percent of the total Hispanic population in both the 2000 and 2010 censuses. These three groups accounted for about three-quarters of the Hispanic population in the United States.
Central American Hispanics, including Mexicans, represented 71 per cent of the total Hispanic population residing in the United States. There were 1.6 million people of Salvadoran origin (3 percent of the total Hispanic population) in 2010, rising from 655,000 in 2000. The Salvadoran population grew significantly between 2000 and 2010, increasing by 152 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, Guatemalans increased considerably, growing by 180 percent. Guatemalans represented 2 percent of the total Hispanic population in 2010. This population rose from 372,000 in 2000 to over 1 million in 2010.
South American Hispanics grew by 105 percent, increasing from 1.4 million in 2000 to 2.8 million in 2010. The South American Hispanic population represented 5 percent of the total Hispanic population in 2010. Dominicans accounted for 3 percent of the total Hispanic population in the United States. This population grew by 85 percent, increasing from 765,000 in 2000 to 1.4 million in 2010. The remaining Hispanic origin groups represented about 8 percent of the total Hispanic population in the United States.
More than three-quarters of the Hispanic population lived in the West or South.
In 2010, 41 percent of Hispanics lived in the West and 36 percent lived in the South. The Northeast and Midwest accounted for 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively, of the Hispanic population. Hispanics accounted for 29 percent of the population in the West, the
only region in which Hispanics exceeded the national level of 16 percent. Hispanics accounted for 16 percent of the population of the South, 13 percent of the Northeast, and 7 percent of the Midwest’s population. The Hispanic population grew in every region between 2000 and 2010, and most significantly in the South and Midwest. The South experienced a growth of 57 percent in its Hispanic population, which was four times the growth of the total population in the South (14 percent). Significant growth also occurred in the Midwest, with the Hispanic population increasing by 49 percent. This was more than
twelve times the growth of the total population in the Midwest (4 percent).
While the Hispanic population grew at a slower rate in the West and Northeast, significant growth still occurred between 2000 and 2010. The Hispanic population grew by 34 percent in the West, which was more than twice the growth of the total population in the West (14 percent). The Northeast’s Hispanic population grew by 33 percent— ten times the growth in the total population of the Northeast (3 percent). Among Hispanic groups with a population of one million or more in 2010, three of the largest Central American groups were concentrated in the West. About two-fifths of people with origins from Guatemala and El Salvador (38 percent and 40 percent, respectively) and half with Mexican origin (52 percent) resided in the West. Unlike Guatemalans, Mexicans, and Salvadorans, all Other Central Americans were more likely to reside in the South. More than half of all Other Central Americans (53 percent) lived in the South, while 21.9 percent lived in the West. Mexicans were less likely to reside in the Northeast (3 percent) than Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Other Central Americans.
South American Hispanics were less likely to reside in the West and more likely to reside in the Northeast than the Central American Hispanic groups. About two-fifths of South American Hispanics (42 percent) lived in the South, 37 percent in the Northeast, 15 percent in the West, and 6 percent in the Midwest.
The largest Caribbean Hispanic groups were concentrated in different regions of the United States. Compared to Central and South American Hispanics, the Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican origin populations were less likely to reside in the West. Cubans were
much more likely to live in the South and Dominicans and Puerto Ricans were more likely to live in the Northeast. More than three-quarters of the Cuban population (77 percent) resided in the South, more than three-quarters of Dominicans (78 percent) resided in
the Northeast, and more than half of the Puerto Rican population (53 percent) lived in the Northeast.
Over half of the Hispanic population in the United States resided in just three states: California, Texas, and Florida.
In 2010, 37.6 million, or 75 percent, of Hispanics lived in the eight states with Hispanic populations of one million or more (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey, and Colorado). Hispanics in California accounted for 14.0 million (28 percent) of the total Hispanic population, while the Hispanic population in Texas accounted for 9.5 million (19 percent).
Hispanics in Florida accounted for 4.2 million (8 percent) of the U.S. Hispanic population.
The Hispanic population experienced growth between 2000 and 2010 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Hispanic population in eight states in the South (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) and South Dakota more than doubled in size between 2000 and 2010. However, even with this large growth, the percent Hispanic in 2010 for each of these states remained less than 9 percent, far below the national level of 16 percent. The Hispanic population in South Carolina grew the fastest, increasing from 95,000 in 2000 to
236,000 in 2010 (a 148 percent increase). Alabama showed the second fastest rate of growth at 145 percent, increasing from 76,000 to 186,000.
Hispanics in New Mexico were 46 percent of the total state population, the highest proportion for any state. Hispanics were 16 percent (the national level) or more of the state population in eight other states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New
Jersey, New York, and Texas). Hispanics accounted for less than 16 percent of the population in 41 states and the District of Columbia. More than one-half (61 percent) of the Mexican origin population in the United States resided in California (11.4 million) and Texas (8.0 million) alone. About two-fifths (41 percent) of the Puerto Rican population lived in two states, New York (1.1 million) and Florida (848,000). More than two-thirds
(68 percent) of all Cubans lived in one state: Florida (1.2 million). Dominicans were highly concentrated in the state of New York with nearly half of them residing there in 2010 (675,000 or 48 percent). About one-third (32 percent) of people of Guatemalan origin
resided in California (333,000) and nearly half (48 percent) of the Salvadoran population was concentrated in California (574,000) and Texas (223,000). The remaining other Hispanic origin groups with less than one million in population size were concentrated in California (1.4 million or 17 percent), Florida (1.2 million or 15 percent), Texas (1.0 million or 13 percent), New York (918,000 or 11 percent), and New Jersey (517,000 or 6 percent).
Salvadorans were the largest Hispanic group in the nation’s capital.
The Mexican origin population represented the largest Hispanic group in 40 states, with more than half of these states in the South and West regions of the country, two in the Northeast region, and in all 12 states in the Midwest region. Meanwhile Puerto Ricans
were the largest group in six of the nine states in the Northeast region and in one Western state, Hawaii (44,000). Dominicans were the largest group in one Northeastern
state, Rhode Island (35,000). In the South region, Cubans were the largest Hispanic origin group in Florida (1.2 million) and Salvadorans were the largest group in Maryland
(124,000) and the District of Columbia (17,000).
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was 99 percent Hispanic.
Although the vast majority of the total population in Puerto Rico was of Hispanic origin (99 percent), the total population declined since Census 2000, from 3.8 million to 3.7 million in 2010. Puerto Ricans made up 96 percent of all Hispanics on the island and accounted for 83 percent of the total population loss. On the other hand, the Dominican
population, the second largest Hispanic group on the island, increased by 21 percent or 12,000 since Census 2000. 15 Dominicans made up 2 percent of all Hispanics on the island.
Counties with the highest proportions of Hispanics were along the southwestern border
of the United States. Hispanics were concentrated in bands of counties along the states
bordering Mexico (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California). They were also concentrated outside these four states. In particular, Hispanic concentrations occurred in counties within central Washington, in counties within the states of Kansas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado, in counties around Chicago, and along the East Coast from New York to Virginia, in counties within central and southern Florida, and the District of Columbia.
Hispanics were the majority of the population in 82 out of 3,143 counties, accounting for 16 percent of the total Hispanic population. In the South, Hispanics were the majority in 51 counties in Texas and one (Miami-Dade) in Florida. In the West, Hispanics were the
majority in 12 counties in New Mexico, nine counties in California and two counties in each of the following states: Arizona (Santa Cruz and Yuma), Colorado (Conejos and
Costilla), and Washington (Adams and Franklin). In the Midwest, Hispanics were the majority in two counties in Kansas (Ford and Seward), and in the Northeast, Hispanics were the majority in one county (Bronx) in New York.
In 2010, the proportion of Hispanics within a county exceeded the national level (16 percent) most often in the counties of the South and West, especially in counties along the border with Mexico. Hispanics exceeded the national level of 16 percent of the total population in 429 counties, 14 percent of all counties. Hispanics represented one-quarter
to less than half of the county population in 177 counties. The percent Hispanic exceeded the national level of 16 percent but was less than 25.0 percent of the population in 170 counties. More than 86 percent of all counties (2,714 counties) were below the national level. The percent Hispanic ranged from 5.0 percent to just under the
national level in 721 counties and were less than 5.0 percent of the county’s population in the majority of the U.S. counties (1,993 of the nation’s 3,143 counties.)
More than 4 million Hispanics lived in Los Angeles County, California.
In 2010, Hispanics in eight counties (all counties with one million or more Hispanics) accounted for one-fourth (27 percent) of the total Hispanic population. There were 4.7 million Hispanics in Los Angeles County, California; 1.7 million in Harris County, Texas; 1.6 million in Miami-Dade County, Florida; 1.2 million in Cook County, Illinois; 1.1 million in Maricopa County, Arizona; and 1.0 million in each of the following counties: Orange, California; Bexar, Texas; and San Bernardino, California.
Hispanics increased to more than twice their size since 2000 in at least 1 in every 4 counties.
Of the 3,143 counties in the United States, Hispanics doubled or more in population size in 912 counties. Among the counties with at least 10,000 or more Hispanics in 2010 (469 counties), the top five fastest growing counties were Luzerne, Pennsylvania (479 percent change); Henry, Georgia (339 percent change); Kendall, Illinois (338 percent change); Douglas, Georgia (321 percent change); and Shelby, Alabama (297 percent change).
More than two-thirds of all counties (69 percent) had a percent change
since Census 2000 higher than the national average, 43 percent. About 6 percent of all these counties were in the state of Georgia (129 counties).
On the other hand, only 6 percent of all counties (178 counties) showed a negative percent change for the Hispanic population. More than 90 percent of these counties (165 counties) had less than five thousand Hispanics in 2010.
In 2010, more than four million Hispanics lived in the cities of New York and Los
Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Hispanics resided in Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Phoenix, El Paso, and Dallas. San Diego and San Jose, California, had between 300,000 and 500,000 Hispanics.
In what places were Hispanics the majority?
Hispanics in East Los Angeles, California, were 97 percent (123,000) of the total population, the highest for any place outside the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico with 100,000 or more total population. Hispanics were the majority of the population in 27 other places with at least 100,000 total population in 2010.
Two of the top ten places in terms of numbers of Hispanics, El Paso, Texas, and San Antonio, Texas, also had a majority who were Hispanic (81 percent and 63 percent, respectively).
ADDITIONAL FINDINGS ON THE HISPANIC POPULATION
The Hispanic population predominantly identified as either “White” or “Some Other Race.”
People of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Starting in 1997, OMB required federal agencies to use a minimum of five race categories: White, Black or African American,
American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. For respondents unable to identify with any of these five race categories, OMB approved the Census Bureau’s inclusion of a sixth category—Some Other Race—on the Census 2000
and 2010 Census questionnaires.
For the 2010 Census, a new instruction was added immediately preceding the questions on
Hispanic origin and race, which was not used in Census 2000. The instruction stated that “For this census, Hispanic origins are not races” because in the federal
statistical system, Hispanic origin is considered to be a separate concept from race. However, this did not preclude individuals from self-identifying their race as “Latino,” “Mexican,” “Puerto Rican,” “Salvadoran,” or other national origins or ethnicities; in fact, many did so. If the response provided to the race question could not be classified in one or more of the five OMB race groups, it was generally classified in the category Some Other Race. Therefore, responses to the question on race that reflect
a Hispanic origin were classified in the Some Other Race category.
In 2010, 94 percent of Hispanic respondents (47.4 million) reported one race. 20 Over half (53 percent) of the Hispanic population identified as White and no other race, while about one-third (37 percent) provided responses that were classified as Some Other Race alone
when responding to the question on race. Much smaller proportions of Hispanics identified as other race groups alone: Black alone (2 percent), American Indian and Alaska Native alone (1 percent), Asian alone (0.4 percent), and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (0.1 percent). About 3 million Hispanics (6 percent) reported multiple races. Among Hispanics who reported multiple races, a large proportion reported race combinations involving Some Other Race.
The racial distribution of the Mexican origin population was similar to the distribution of the
total Hispanic population. Mexicans also reported predominantly as White alone (53 percent) and Some Other Race alone (39 percent). Mexicans were less likely to report as Black alone (1 percent) than the total Hispanic population. On the other hand, the racial
distribution of other Central American groups was different than that of the total Hispanic population. People of Guatemalan and Salvadoran origin were less likely to report as White alone (about 40 percent for both groups), more likely to report as only Some Other Race (about 50 percent for both), and more likely to report multiple races (about 7 percent for both). Also, Guatemalans were more likely to report as American Indian and Alaska Native alone (3 percent). Respondents that reported as Other Central American were less likely to report as White alone (48 percent), more likely to report as Black alone (8 percent), less likely to report as Some Other Race alone (34 percent), and more likely to report multiple races (9 percent).
South American Hispanics also reported largely as White alone and Some Other Race alone but at proportions much different than the total Hispanic population. South
American Hispanics were more likely to report as White only (about two-thirds) and less likely to report only as Some Other Race (about one-quarter) than the total Hispanic
population. Respondents of Cuban origin were much more likely than the total Hispanic population to report as White alone (85 percent), more likely to report as Black alone (5
percent), less likely to report as Some Other Race alone (6 percent), and less likely to report as multiple races (4 percent). Dominicans were much less likely to report as White
alone (30 percent), much more likely to report as Black alone (13 percent), more likely to report as Some Other Race alone (46 percent), and more likely to report as multiple races (10 percent). Puerto Ricans were more likely to report as Black alone (9 percent), less likely to report as Some Other Race alone (28 percent), and more likely to report multiple races (9 percent).
About half of all other Hispanics reported as White alone and about one-third provided responses classified as Some Other Race alone. All other Hispanics were slightly more likely to report as Black alone (3 percent), more likely to report as American Indian and Alaska Native alone (2 percent), more likely toreport as Asian alone (1 percent), slightly more likely to report as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (0.3 percent), and more likely to report as multiple races (9 percent).
This report presented data from the 2010 Census that illustrated the nation’s changing ethnic diversity. The Hispanic population accounted for over half the growth of the total
population in the United States between 2000 and 2010. The examination of ethnic group distributions nationally shows that the Mexican population is still numerically and proportionally the largest Hispanic group in the United States. Although Mexicans were the largest Hispanic group, they grew at a rate slower than many of the other detailed Hispanic groups.
Racial classification issues continue to persist among those who identify as Hispanic, resulting in a substantial proportion of that population being categorized as Some Other Race. Geographically, there are a number of areas, particularly in the Western and Southern parts of the United States that have large proportions of the Hispanic population. Overall, the U.S. population has become more ethnically diverse over time. Throughout the decade, the Census Bureau will release additional information on Hispanic origin population groups, which will provide more insights into the nation’s ethnic diversity.
ABOUT THE 2010 CENSUS
Why was the 2010 Census conducted?
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken in the United States every 10 years. This is required in order to determine the number of seats each state is to receive in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Why did the 2010 Census ask the question on Hispanic origin?
The Census Bureau collects data on Hispanic origin and race to fulfill a variety of legislative and program requirements. Data on Hispanic origin and race are used in the legislative redistricting process carried out by the states and in monitoring local jurisdictions’ compliance with the Voting Rights Act. More broadly, data on Hispanic origin are critical for research that underlies many policy decisions at all levels of government.
How do data from the question on Hispanic origin benefit me, my family, and my community?
All levels of government need information on Hispanic origin to implement and evaluate programs, or enforce laws, such as the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Act, Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and the 2010 Census Redistricting Data Program.
Both public and private organizations use Hispanic origin information to find areas where groups may need special services and to plan and implement education, housing, health, and other programs that address these needs. For example, a school system might use this information to design cultural activities that reflect the diversity in their community.
Or a business could use it to select the mix of merchandise it will sell in a new store. Census information also helps identify areas where residents might need services of
particular importance to certain ethnic groups, such as screening for hypertension or diabetes.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information on race and Hispanic origin in the United States, visit Census Data on US Hispanic Origin & Race from the 2010 Census Summary File 1.
For a detailed schedule of 2010 Census products and release dates, visit 2010 Census Products & Release Dates.
For more information on confidentiality protection, nonsampling error, and definitions, see Confidentiality, Sampling & Definitions.
For more information on specific race and ethnic groups in the United States, go to “Minority Links”. This Web page includes information about the 2010 Census and provides links to reports based on past censuses and surveys focusing on the social and economic characteristics of the Hispanic or Latino, Black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander populations.
Information on other population and housing topics is presented in the 2010 Census Briefs Series. This series presents information about race, Hispanic origin, age, sex, household type, housing tenure, and people who reside in group quarters.
For more information about the 2010 Census, including data products, call the Customer Services Center at 1-800-923-8282. You can also visit the Census Bureau’s FAQ or Contact Us to submit your question online.