Home / Population and society / Articles / The Hispanic population has quadrupled in the past four decades. It is also becoming more diverse.

The Hispanic American population grew 23% from 2010 to 2020. That is also more than four times higher than the Hispanic population of 15 million in 1980 — the first time the term was implemented in the census count.

The Hispanic population increased by 47 million since 1980.

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Census data also indicates growing demographic variation within this group. Hispanic Americans trace their ethnicity to dozens of countries of origin. Since the terms Latino or Hispanic refer to ethnicity, not race, there are Hispanic Americans in every racial group.

Two-thirds of Hispanic Americans identify as white.

In 2019, the latest year for which the racial breakdown of the Hispanic population is available, 39.7 million out of 60.5 million Hispanics identified as white. The second-largest racial group among Hispanics is the “some other race” category. There were 15.5 million people in this group in 2019, representing 26% of all Hispanic Americans. Three million or 5% of Hispanics identified as multiracial.

In 2019, 91% of the Hispanic population identified as white or some other race.

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Mexican Americans represent the most prominent Hispanic origin with a population of 37.2 million, about 61% of all Hispanics. Puerto Ricans are the second-largest Hispanic group. In the United States — which includes all states and Washington, DC, not Puerto Rico — 5.8 million or 10% of the Hispanic population identify as Puerto Rican.

Seven in 10 Hispanic Americans trace their heritage to Mexico or Puerto Rico.

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Forty-four percent of Hispanics live in California or Texas, but populations are growing in every state.

California and Texas, the two most populous states, were home to 15.6 million and 11.4 million Hispanic Americans, respectively. In both of those states, Hispanics make up 39% of the population. Only New Mexico has a higher share of people identifying as Hispanic: 48%.

Every state’s Hispanic share of the population has grown since the 1980 census. Nevada’s Hispanic population grew by 22 percentage points, from 7% in 1980 to 29% in 2020.

The share of the Hispanic American population in every state has grown since 1980.

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Twelve states had more than 50% growth in their Hispanic populations between the 2010 and 2020 censuses. North Dakota, which had the third-smallest Hispanic population at 33,000 in 2010, more than doubled that number by 2020. Except for New Mexico, where the Hispanic population grew by 5%, every state had a greater than 11% growth in Hispanic populations since 2010.

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The majority of Hispanic Americans were born as US citizens.

About 86% of the overall population was born in the US. Another 7% are naturalized and 7% foreign-born and not US citizens. Among Hispanics, 67% native-born, 13% are naturalized, and 20% are not citizens. When excluding Puerto Ricans from the count, the Hispanic population breaks down as 64% native-born, 14% naturalized, and 22% not citizens.

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Hispanic Americans are the youngest major racial or ethnic group.

The median age for Hispanic Americans is 29.8, nearly nine years lower than the median age of 38.5 for the entire US population. About 8% of the Hispanic population is over 65, compared to 17% of the total population. Thirty-one percent of Hispanic Americans are under 18, compared to 22% of the nation.

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Cuban Americans are the oldest Hispanic group with a median age of 41. Seventeen percent of Cuban Americans are older than 65 and 21% are younger than 18. The median age of Mexican Americans is 13 years younger than the median age of Cuban Americans.

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Conversely, the median age for Guatemalan Americans is 27.9. A third of the group are children, while 4% are over 65.

Three in four Hispanic households live as a family together.

While 65% of all American households are single family — as opposed to people living alone or with unrelated roommates — 75% of Hispanic households fall into that category. Eighty-three percent of Salvadoran American households are family-based, the highest of all Hispanic groups.

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Hispanic families are larger than the overall US family average. The average Hispanic family is about 3.8 people compared to the US average of 3.2. Guatemalan, Salvadoran, and Mexican American families all have an average family size of more than four people.

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Hispanics with a South American origin are more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than Americans overall.

Eighteen percent of Hispanic Americans older than 25 have at least a bachelor’s degree, lower than the 33% of the US population. While educational attainment among Mexican Americans and Central Americans tend to be lower — 11% of Guatemalan Americans have at least a bachelor’s — Hispanics with South American ancestry have higher education rates. Thirty-nine percent of Hispanics with South American backgrounds, including 56% of Venezuelan Americans, have at least a bachelor’s degree.

Fifty-six percent of Venezuelans over 25 years old have a bachelor's degree.

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