May 26, 2011

More Data on Mexicans and Other Hispanic-Origin Groups

The Pew Hispanic Center has just published a report, profiles and an interactive graphic about major Hispanic country-of-origin populations nationally and in the 30 metropolitan areas with the largest Latino populations. The data come from the 2009 American Community Survey, and are intended to supplement 2010 Census counts released today for the major Hispanic country-of-origin groups.

The report (PDF) by Mark Hugo Lopez and Daniel Dockterman summarizes the major findings from the 2010 Census about Hispanic country-of-origin groups, and offers metropolitan area population estimates for the largest  groups using estimates from the 2009 American Community Survey. For the 10 largest country-of-origin groups, national-level demographic profiles and an interactive ranking table use 2009 American Community Survey data to display nativity, language, marital status, fertility, educational attainment, income, poverty and homeownership, among other characteristics. Looking at nativity, for example, 69% of Hondurans are foreign-born, compared with 36% of Mexican-origin Hispanics.

The interactive graphic includes a map with a Hispanic population profile for selected metropolitan areas, as well as rankings of metropolitan areas with the largest number and share of the six largest country-of-origin groups (Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Salvadorans). These numbers from the 2009 ACS may not match exactly the counts for country-of-origin groups from the 2010 Census, which have not yet been released for metropolitan areas. (In fact, the American Community Survey in 2009 estimated there were about the same number of Salvadorans and Cubans, but the 2010 Census counted more Cubans than Salvadorans.)

The new Census 2010 data show that the top three country-of-origin groups are the same as in 2000–Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans–but that some smaller groups grew more rapidly than the larger ones. Salvadorans, the fourth-largest group, grew in number by nearly 152% over the decade, compared with a 54% growth rate for Mexicans. Still, Mexicans grew rapidly enough to increase their already dominant share of the overall Hispanic population; they were 63% of Latinos in 2010, compared with 59% in 2000.

The newly released 2010 Census numbers also show different patterns of racial self-identification among different country-of-origin groups.  The vast majority of Cubans (85%) identify as white, compared with about half of Mexicans (53%) and less than half of Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Dominicans. Half of Salvadorans (51%) and a plurality of Guatemalans and Dominicans identify themselves as “some other race.”

It’s important to remember that the responses to the question on Hispanic origin (and specific origin group) are based on self-identification. As the nativity numbers indicate, people who include themselves in a particular country-of-origin group could be born in the U.S. As the Census Bureau states in its new brief on the Hispanic population: “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.”