Latinos now make up 17 percent of the U.S. population, up from 13 percent in 2000. (Photo/Getty Images )

Latinos in U.S. reach 52 million but growth is from births not immigration

There are approximately 52 million Latinos in the U.S., according to a just-released Pew Hispanic Center analysis, and they now make up 17 percent of the nation’s population, up from 13 percent in 2000. In the period between 2000 and 2011, the Hispanic population grew 48 percent.  But as the nation’s Latino population continues to grow, it is not because of immigration.  In fact, foreign-born Latinos are now 36 percent of the nation’s Hispanics, down from 40 percent in 2000 —  a 10 percent drop.

“As immigration has slowed, the big driver in Latino growth is births,” says Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director of the Pew Hispanic Center.

As of 2011, two-thirds (65 percent) of the nation’s Latinos were of Mexican origin, at 33.5 million.  This is followed by 4.9 million Puerto Ricans or 9 percent of U.S. Hispanics, then 2 million Salvadorans at 4 percent of Latinos, closely followed by 1.9 million Cubans at 4 percent of Hispanics, and 1.5 million Dominicans at 3 percent of the nation’s Latinos.  Hispanics from other countries make up the remaining 8 million, at a share of 16 percent of the nation’s Hispanics.

Two-thirds of Latinos live in just 5 states – California, Texas, Florida, New York and Illinois. Twenty eight percent of all Hispanics live in California (14 million), and 19 percent of all Hispanics live in Texas (9.8 million). Florida has 8 percent of the nation’s Hispanics, New York has 7 percent and Illinois 4 percent.

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But other states saw dramatic growth in their Latino populations. From 2000 to 2011, South Carolina’s Hispanics grew by 154 percent, Kentucky’s by 132 percent, Arkansas by 123 percent, and Minnesota and North Carolina by 120 percent.

Almost a quarter of the nation’s births were to Hispanic women last year, and of these, nearly half (47 percent) were to unmarried women. At a median age of 27, Hispanics are the youngest population group in the country. Eighty-six percent of Latinos under 17  and 59 percent of Hispanics over 18 either only speak English or speak it very well.

The share of Latinos with a high school diploma rose significantly, from 52 percent in 2000 to 63 percent in 2011. College enrollment grew from 20 percent of 18 to 24-year-old Latinos in 2000 to 33 percent in 2011.  In terms of college completion, 13 percent of Hispanics over 25 had a college degree; it was 10 percent in 2000.

While the median household income in the U.S. is $50,000, the median income of native-born Latinos is $42,400 and for foreign-born it is $35,900. The Hispanic poverty rate is significantly higher than the overall population; for Latinos it’s 26 percent compared to 16 percent overall. Twenty two percent of Hispanic households receive food stamps, compared to 13 of the general population, and 30 percent of Latinos lack health insurance, compared to 15 percent of all Americans.

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