This morning, on the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month 2015, the Pew Research Center published new findings about the country’s Latinos. The biggest conclusion Pew made? The U.S. Latino population is becoming less foreign-born.

As the study states, “Overall,the share of the Hispanic population that is foreign-born has decreased from 40% in 2000 to 35% in 2013.” Pew based its analysis on the latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau. According to the chart below, which took into account six out of the top seven most populous Hispanic origin groups in the United States that Pew tracks (Puerto Ricans are excluded in this analysis because they are U.S. citizens), those of Guatemalan descent have the highest share of foreign-born immigrants in its origin group (64%), while those of Mexican descent have the lowest share (33%). All the groups listed in the chart saw a decline, when compared to 2000.


The analysis also made sure to emphasize this point: “Despite falling immigrant shares across all Latino origin groups, fast Latino population growth has led to continued growth in the number of Latino immigrants (though growth has slowed in recent years). Among all Latinos, there were 14.1 million immigrants in 2000. By 2005, that number reached 16.8 million, and by 2013, there were 19 million Latino immigrants in the U.S. The same pattern is present among all Latino origin groups, though for three —Ecuadorians, Mexicans and Nicaraguans— the number of immigrants has declined since 2010.”

Pew also shared its latest data about who makes up the U.S. Latino population, ranking the most populous groups and their population share. According to Pew, “the nation’s Latino population is its largest minority group, numbering more than 53 million, or 17.1% of the U.S. population, in 2013.”


The study did not take into account origin groups from other parts of Latin America, specifically Brazil. Since the Pew study uses the term “Latino” in the report several case, there could be a case to include Brazilians in later studies. Estimates from 2011 say that there were about 371,000 Brazilians living in the United States, and some say the number is close to 500,000. If Brazil were added to the mix, there would be more Brazilians living in the United States than there are Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Argentineans, respectively.

A few other points from today’s Pew report:

Mexicans make up 64.1% of all U.S. Latinos. Puerto Ricans are next at 9.5%. After that, according to Pew, “no other [group] makes up more than 5% of the U.S. Latino population. Cubans and Salvadorans, the two next largest groups, each make up just under 4% of the Latino population, with populations of about 2 million each.” For this analysis, is important to note that Pew did not include Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. If it were to take that into account, it could add another 3.5 million Puerto Ricans into the fold, which would result in about 13 million Puerto Ricans.

Venezuelans still top the list of highest foreign-born share. “Venezuelans had the highest foreign-born share, at 69% in 2013. They are followed by Peruvians at 65%, Guatemalans at 64% and Hondurans at 63%. Only Mexicans (33%), Spaniards (14%) and Puerto Ricans (2%) have foreign-born shares of less than half of their total population.” Pew did not list Venezuelans in the bigger chart it presented at the beginning of its report because the Venezuelan population in the U.S.  didn’t even crack the Top 12 in population.

The vast majority of U.S. Latinos are citizens. “When it comes to U.S. citizenship, about three-in-four Hispanics (76%) are either U.S.-born (65%) or naturalized U.S. citizens (11%). Among the origin groups, those with the highest citizenship rates are Puerto Ricans (99%), Spaniards (93%), Cubans (76%) and Mexicans (75%). By comparison, Hondurans and Guatemalans have the lowest rates of citizenship, at about 50%.” (Brief aside: I want to meet those Puerto Ricans who are not U.S. citizens, because citizenship for Puerto Ricans is automatic, unless these Puerto Ricans live in the U.S. and have renounced their citizenship. On this point, Pew says: “Hispanics who trace their roots to Puerto Rico and were born in the U.S. or its territories, including Puerto Rico, are U.S. citizens at birth. However, a small number of Puerto Rican origin Hispanics—38,000 in 2013—indicate they were born in another country and also indicate they are not U.S. citizens.”)

Not only are Mexicans the most populous group, they are also the youngest. Mexicans, according to Pew, “have the lowest median age, at 26 in 2013.” On the other hand, “Cubans are the oldest with a median age of 40.”

The entire Pew study (which spans four Internet pages) contains some very important data about U.S. Latinos. Let me know what you think of the findings by adding your comments at the end of this post. I am particularly interested if you think Brazilians should be added to any new findings.

Photo credits: Pew and Todd Heisler/The New York Times

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