September 15, 2000

Hispanic Heritage Month 2000:

September 15-October 15

Fast Facts

Income and Poverty

- Hispanic households experienced their third consecutive year of rising income, going from $27,043 in 1997 to $28,330 in 1998 a 4.8 percent increase.

- Hispanic per-capita income rose 4.5 percent between 1997 and 1998, from $10,941 to $11,434.

- The poverty rate for Hispanics declined during the same period, from 27.1 percent to 25.6 percent and the number of Hispanics who were poor in 1998 (8.1 million) did not change statistically from 1997.

- The 1998 poverty rate among Hispanic groups ranged from about 31 percent for Puerto Ricans and Mexicans to 14 percent for Cubans.

- Families of Hispanic origin had a significant decline in their poverty rate: 22.7 percent in 1998, down from 24.7 percent in 1997.


- The voting-age population of Hispanics in November 2000 is expected to be 16 percent greater than in November 1996.

- The voter registration rate for Hispanics increased from 31 percent to 34 percent between 1994 and 1998.

- More than one-half million more Hispanics voted in the 1998 congressional election than in the previous one held four years earlier (4.1 million compared with 3.5 million). In contrast, the number of people overall casting ballots declined by 2.6 million.

- The voter turnout rate among Hispanics remained unchanged between the 1994 and 1998 congressional elections, at 20 percent, in contrast to the turnout rate among all adults, which declined from 45 percent to 42 percent. If noncitizens had been subtracted from the total number of persons of voting age, the Hispanic turnout rate would have been about 13 percentage points higher in 1998.


- The proportion of the Hispanic population age 25 and over with a high school degree or higher increased from 51 percent in 1988 to 56 percent in 1998. The proportion of Hispanics with a bachelor's degree was 11 percent in 1998, not significantly different from the 10 percent at this level of education a decade earlier.

- The estimated proportion of the Hispanic population age 25 and over with at least a bachelor's degree in 1999 ranged from 25 percent for Cubans to 7 percent for Mexicans.

- Hispanics were a more sizable presence in 1998 in our nation's elementary and high schools (14 percent) than they were in the general population (11 percent).



- In 1999, about 68 percent of Hispanic families were married-couple families, while 24 percent were maintained by a woman with no husband present and 8 percent, by a man with no wife present.

- Eight in 10 Cuban families were maintained by a married couple in 1999, the highest percentage among Hispanic groups.

- In 1999, 34 percent of Hispanics, age 15 and older, had never been married, while 55 percent were currently married, 4 percent were widowed and 7 percent were divorced.

Coming to America

- In 1997, 13.1 million (1 in 2) of the nation's foreign-born residents were born in Latin America, an impressive increase from the 1.8 million (1 in 5) who resided in this country as recently as 1970.

- In 1997, there were four Latin American countries among the top 10 countries of birth of the nation's foreign-born: Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

- Although U.S. residents born in Latin America can be found all across the country, most live in only a few areas. The difference is the place of birth of their Latin American-born residents. For example, in 1997, about 3 out of 4 U.S. residents born in the Caribbean lived either in the New York or the Miami metro areas. And more than half of the Mexican-born population lived in the Los Angeles and Chicago metro areas and the state of Texas.

- In the Miami metropolitan area in 1997, people from Latin America made up the overwhelming majority (87 percent) of the foreign-born population.


Population Distribution

- On July 1, 2000, an estimated 32.4 million Hispanics lived in the United States. They comprised 11.8 percent of the total population on July 1, 2000, up from 9.0 percent on April 1, 1990. (These totals do not include persons living in Puerto Rico, estimated at 3.9 million as of July 1, 1999.)

- The nation's resident Hispanic population increased by 10.1 million people between April 1, 1990, and July 1, 2000.

- The nation's resident Hispanic population is young, with an estimated median age on July 1, 2000, of 26.6 years.

- Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the nation's Hispanics in 1999 were of Mexican origin. People of Puerto Rican origin accounted for 10 percent of the total Hispanic population, while people of Cuban origin, Central and South American origin and other Hispanics accounted for 4 percent, 14 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

- According to projections, the Hispanic population will triple from 31.4 million in 1999 to 98.2 million in 2050. Under this scenario, the percentage of Hispanics in the total population will rise from 12 percent to 24 percent over the period and by 2005 they would become the nation's largest minority group.

- It is estimated that between April 1, 1990, and July 1, 2000, Hispanics accounted for 38 percent of the nation's resident population growth. According to projections, between July 1, 2000, and July 1, 2050, Hispanics will account for the majority (51 percent) of the nation's population growth.

As of July 1, 1999, according to population estimates:

- The Hispanic population of seven states totaled at least 1 million each: California (10.5 million), Texas (6.0 million), New York (2.7 million), Florida (2.3 million), Illinois (1.3 million), Arizona (1.1 million) and New Jersey (1.0 million). Combined, California and Texas were home to more than half of the nation's Hispanics.

- The states with the highest concentration of Hispanics were New Mexico (where Hispanics constituted 41 percent of the total population), California (32 percent), Texas (30 percent), Arizona (23 percent), Nevada (17 percent) and Florida, Colorado and New York (15 percent each).

- The 10 counties with the largest Hispanic population were Los Angeles, Calif. (4.1 million), Dade, Fla. (1.2 million), Cook, Ill. (930,000), Harris, Texas (910,000), Orange, Calif. (800,000), Bexar, Texas (780,000), San Diego, Calif. (750,000), Maricopa, Ariz., and Bronx, N.Y. (about 580,000 each), and San Bernardino, Calif. (570,000).

- All six counties where at least 90 percent of the residents were Hispanic were in Texas. These counties were Starr (98 percent), Webb (95 percent), Maverick (95 percent), Jim Hogg (93 percent), Brooks (92 percent) and Zavala (91 percent).

Between April 1, 1990, and July 1, 1999, according to population estimates:

- California (2.8 million), Texas (1.7 million), Florida (760,000), New York (450,000) and Arizona (400,000) added more Hispanics than any other states.

- There were six states where the Hispanic population more than doubled: Arkansas (where it increased by 170 percent), Nevada (145 percent), North Carolina (129 percent), Georgia (120 percent), Nebraska (108 percent) and Tennessee (105 percent).

- The 10 counties that added the most Hispanics to their populations were Los Angeles, Calif. (790,000), Dade, Fla. (300,000), Harris, Texas (260,000), Maricopa, Ariz. (240,000), Orange, Calif. (240,000), Cook, Ill. (240,000), San Diego, Calif. (240,000), Riverside, Calif. (210,000), San Bernardino, Calif. (190,000), and Bexar, Texas (190,000).

The Spanish Language

- The percentage of U.S. public high school students taking Spanish courses more than doubled between 1982 and 1994, from 12 percent to 27 percent.

- In less than a decade's time, the number of registrations in Spanish courses at U.S. colleges and universities climbed by nearly 50 percent from 411,000 in fall 1986 to 606,000 in fall 1995.

- As of 1998, the United States had 20.2 million Spanish-speaking adults age 18 and over 10 percent of the total adult population.

Return to the Frontpage