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U.S. Hispanic Country of Origin Counts for Nation, Top 30 Metropolitan Areas

by Mark Hugo Lopez and Daniel Dockterman for the Pew Hispanic Center

Executive Summary

Hispanics of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban origin or descent remain the nation's three largest Hispanic country-of-origin groups, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. However, while the relative position of these three groups has remained unchanged since 2000, the next four Hispanic sub-groups grew faster during the decade.

Hispanics of Salvadoran origin, the fourth largest Hispanic country-of-origin group grew by 152% since 2000. The Dominican population grew by 85%, the Guatemalan population by 180% and the Colombian population by 93%. Meanwhile, the Cuban and Puerto Rican populations grow more slowly—44% and 36% respectively.

Despite their No. 1 status, Mexicans are not the dominant Hispanic origin group in many of the nation's metropolitan areas. Among the Miami metropolitan area's 1.5 million Hispanics, half are Cuban. In the New York-Northeastern New Jersey metropolitan area, 29.4% of Hispanics are of Puerto Rican origin and 19.7% are of Dominican origin. In the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Salvadorans are the largest group, comprising one-third of the area's Hispanics.

However, in many metropolitan areas, Mexican origin Hispanics are by far the dominant group among Hispanics. In Chicago, nearly eight-in-ten (79.2%) of the area's Hispanics are of Mexican origin. In the San Antonio, TX metropolitan area, Mexicans make up 91.3% of all Hispanics. And in Atlanta, GA, nearly six-in-ten (58.1%) Hispanics are of Mexican origin.

Country of origin is based on self-described family ancestry or place of birth in response to questions in the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and on the 2010 Census form. It is not necessarily the same as place of birth, nor is it indicative of immigrant or citizenship status. For example, a U.S. citizen born in Los Angeles of Mexican immigrant parents or grandparents may (or may not) identify his or her country of origin as Mexico. Likewise, some immigrants born in Mexico may identify another country as their origin depending on the place of birth of their ancestors.

The data for this report are derived from the 2010 U.S. Census and from the 2009 American Community Survey. The 2010 Census provides population counts for Hispanic origin sub-groups. The 2009 American Community Survey provides detailed geographic, demographic and economic characteristics for each sub-group.

Accompanying this report are national level profiles containing geographic, demographic and economic details for the ten largest Hispanic country of origin sub-groups—Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Hondurans, Ecuadorians and Peruvians. Alongside these demographic profiles is an interactive graphic ranking the ten Hispanic country of origin sub-groups on several characteristics. These profiles and the accompanying interactive graphic are based on the 2009 American Community Survey.

An interactive graphic showing country of origin sub-groups among Hispanics in the nation's 30 metropolitan areas with the largest Hispanic populations is also available. This interactive graphic is also based on the 2009 American Community Survey.

Read the full report at

About The Author

Mark Hugo Lopez is Associate Director at Pew Hispanic Center. Prior to joining the Pew Hispanic Center, Lopez was Research Director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) as well as a Research Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. His areas of expertise include labor economics, civic engagement, voting behavior and the economics of education. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.

Daniel Dockterman is a research assistant at the Pew Hispanic Center. Dockterman earned his B.A. in psychology and economics from the University of Virginia. He will begin Doctoral Studies in advanced quantitative methods at the University of California, Los Angeles Graduate School of Education in the Fall.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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