by Antonio Fuentes de Baca
According to the Pew Research Hispanic Center there were 53 million Hispanics living in the US in 2012 most of which were born in the US and are American citizens. That means that since 1970 the US Hispanic population has increased sixfold.
According to research conducted by the Pew Center in 2011 the majority of those Hispanics were Mexican, 33.5 million specifically. Puerto Ricans accounted for 4.9 million and Salvadorans accounted for 1.9 million. Cubans accounted for 1.8 million of the Hispanic population while Dominicans accounted for 1.5 million. Guatemalans were in the sixth slot with 1.2 million and Colombians accounted for almost 1 million. Spaniards living in the US accounted for 707,000 making them the 8th largest Hispanic population in the US while Hondurans came in at 702,000. Finally, Ecuadorians were at 645,000, Peruvians at 556,000, Nicaraguans at 395,000, Venezuelan at 259,000, and Argentinians at 242,000.
In terms of Hispanic poverty Pew estimated 28% of the US Hispanic population lives at or below the US poverty level with Hondurans composing 33% of that number making them the largest Hispanic population in the US living in poverty. They were followed by Guatemalans at 29%, Dominicans at 28%, Puerto Ricans at 28%, and Mexicans at 28%. The number of Spaniards in the US living in poverty came it at 14% while Argentinians came with the lowest poverty rate at 11%.
In terms of US citizenship Puerto Rican came in with the highest percentage at 99%. Spaniards came in second at 93% while Cubans came in at number three with 74%. Mexicans holding US citizenship came in at number four with 74%. The group with the lowest number for US citizenship was the Hondurans among whom only 50% held citizenship.
When it comes to college education the top ranking ethnic group were Venezuelans coming in at 51% followed by Argentinians at 40%. Spaniard came in third with 32% having a college education. Colombians ranked next with 31% while Mexicans ranked number 11 with only 10% having a college education. Guatemalans came in last with only 7% having a college education.
In terms of median age Cubans ranked the highest with the median age of Cubans in the US being at about 40 years old. For US Spaniards the median age was 34 while for Mexicans in the US the median age was 25.
The Pew Hispanic Research Center also says that since 2000 the US born Hispanic population continued to grow faster than the Latino immigrant population according to data analysis of the US Census. They concluded that the foreign-born share of Hispanics is now in decline. With the continued rise in US Hispanic numbers Pew concludes that the US Latino population will continue to grow at a stead pace.
You can find all these statistics on the Pew Research Center website at:
According to more current information by the PRC 2/3 of legal Mexican immigrants are not US citizens. There are 5.4 legal immigrants from Mexico in the US presently. They are eligible to become US citizens but have not yet done so. Their rate of naturalization is only at 36% and that makes their rate of naturalization about 1/2 of other ethnic group immigrants. Keep in mind I am talking about LEGAL not illegal Hispanic immigrants in the US.
By far Mexican immigrants compose the largest group of illegal immigrants in the US today. Illegal Mexican immigrants in the US account for almost 55% (6.1 million) of the estimated 11.1 million in the US as of 2011. Additionally, Mexicans compose the largest group of legal permanent residents in the US accounting for 3.9 million out of 12 million legal permanent residents.
So what is the main reason so many Mexicans in the US don’t pursue US citizenship account to the Pew Hispanic Center? The top ranked reason is language barrier. Lack of proficiency in speaking English was cited as the reason by 26% of those Hispanics surveyed. Further, 18% of those surveyed said their reason for not pursuing US citizenship was due to financial barriers including the cost of naturalization. Also, 26% said they have either not tried applying for US citizenship or are simply not interested. For more statistics on this go to:
So what does this all mean? One thing it means is that the majority of LEGAL Mexican immigrants are not US citizens with 26% either not interested in US citizenship or having not applied for it yet. It also means that the birth rate of foreign-born Latinos in the US is declining while the US Mexican population is growing steadily. These statistics fly in the face of some popular opinions these days in some respects.
Finally, in terms of Hispanic income in the US the median household income is about $39,000 per year. Mexicans rank 10th as their median household income is about $38K yearly. The two top wage earning Hispanic groups in the US are Argentinians ($55K per year) and Spaniards ($53K yearly).
Getting back to what this all means……the statistics reflect that the majority of Hispanics in the US are here legally and/or were born in the US. The majority of Hispanics in the US are NOT here illegally according to the statistics. The majority Hispanic ethnic group are Mexicans. Further, in terms of poverty only 28% of Hispanics in the US are living at or below the US poverty level meaning that the majority of Hispanics in America are NOT living in poverty.
These statistics also reflect that Mexicans in the US have one of the lowest college education rates. They ranked 11th with only 10% having college educations. That suggests to me that more Hispanic youth need to be encouraged to enroll in college as education is one of the keys to success.
The fact that 2/3 of Mexican immigrants are not interested in US citizenship does not surprise me as many come to the US from Mexico to work and have better lives but they do not want to rid themselves of their Mexican heritage or citzenship. The US has dual citizenship with some countries such as Egypt and that might be a good avenue for Mexicans as well. Many Mexicans in the US might be more enthusiastic about US citizenship if they could have dual citizenship both in Mexico and the US.
What some of these statistics do is blow the bubble off of some popular myths about Hispanics in the US. Fact is most Hispanics are not living in poverty nor are most Hispanics in the US here illegally. To the contrary, the MAJORITY of Hispanics in the US are living above the poverty level and the MAJORTIY of them are in the US LEGALLY.