Foreign-Born Hispanics in the United States
Hispanic Population by Nativity, for the United States: 1990 and 2000
The results of Census 2000 show that the Hispanic population has grown significantly since 1990, increasing from 22 million to 35.2 million. The total Hispanic population can be broken down into two categories: 1) native Hispanics, or people born in the United States who are of Hispanic ancestry or heritage, and 2) foreign-born Hispanics who may or may not have acquired U.S. citizenship. While the size of both the native and foreign-born Hispanic populations increased over the last decade, the foreign-born Hispanic population in particular experienced extraordinary growth. This Spotlight examines the size and distribution of the foreign-born Hispanic population throughout the United States.
Click on the bullet points below for more information:
- The Hispanic population of the United States has experienced considerable growth since 1990, increasing from 22 million to 35.2 million in 2000, with immigration playing a key role.
- The states with the largest number of foreign-born Hispanics include California, Texas, and Florida.
- Vermont, North Dakota, and Maine have the smallest foreign-born Hispanic populations.
- The District of Columbia, North Carolina, and Georgia have the highest proportions of foreign born in their total Hispanic populations.
- The two states with the smallest proportions of foreign born in their total Hispanic populations are Hawaii and Montana.
- North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas saw the greatest growth in their foreign-born Hispanic populations between 1990 and 2000.
- California, New York, and Florida are among the states that experienced the smallest growth in their foreign-born Hispanic populations between 1990 and 2000.
- The states with the largest total Hispanic populations are California, Texas, and New York.
- North Carolina, Arkansas, and Georgia were among the states that experienced the greatest growth in their total Hispanic populations.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over the last decade the Hispanic population grew by 13.3 million people. Of those, 47 percent were immigrants. The Hispanic foreign-born population grew at a faster rate than native Hispanics between 1990 and 2000; foreign-born Hispanics experienced an 81 percent increase compared to 50 percent for native Hispanics. Overall, 40 percent of all Hispanics in the United States are foreign-born.
Defining the "foreign born"
In 2000, the states with the largest number of foreign-born Hispanics included California (4.8 million), Texas (2.1 million), and Florida (1.5 million), followed by New York (1.1 million) and Illinois (705,610). These same five states had the largest foreign-born Hispanic populations in 1990.
According to Census 2000, there were 10 states with less than 10,000 foreign-born Hispanics: Vermont (955), North Dakota (1,147) and Maine (1,532), followed by Montana (1,569), West Virginia (1,996), South Dakota (2,339), Wyoming (4,432), New Hampshire (5,767), Alaska (5,889), and Hawaii (7,533). In 1990, the 10 states, from smallest to largest, were North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Montana, Maine, West Virginia, Wyoming, Mississippi, Delaware, and New Hampshire.
The results of Census 2000 show that 64 percent of all Hispanics in the District of Columbia were foreign-born, followed by 61 percent in North Carolina and 60 percent in Georgia. Over half of all the Hispanics in Florida (55 percent), Maryland (54 percent), and Virginia (52 percent) were foreign-born. In 1990, 71 percent of all Hispanics in the District of Columbia were foreign born, and in only two states, Florida (59 percent) and Maryland (50 percent), were half or more of the Hispanics foreign-born.
In 2000, only 8 percent of Montana's and 9 percent of Hawaii's Hispanic population were foreign-born. Other states where less than 20 percent of all Hispanics were foreign-born included Wyoming (14 percent), New Mexico and North Dakota (both 15 percent), Maine, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania (all 17 percent), and Vermont and Ohio (both 18 percent). In 1990, Montana, New York, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania were among the 10 states with the lowest proportions of foreign born in their Hispanic populations, along with South Dakota, Colorado, and Michigan.
North Carolina's foreign-born Hispanic population increased from 19,760 in 1990 to 227,318 in 2000, representing a 1,050 percent change. For Tennessee, the foreign-born Hispanic population increased from 5,918 in 1990 to 59,098 in 2000, representing a growth rate of 899 percent. In 1990, Arkansas had 4,347 foreign-born Hispanics, while in 2000 the population increased to 42,120, representing an 869 percent change. The remaining 10 states that experienced the largest percentage change in their foreign-born Hispanic populations include: Alabama (686 percent), Minnesota (624 percent), South Carolina (574 percent), Nebraska (539 percent), Georgia (528 percent), Utah (526 percent), and Kentucky (496 percent).
While California, New York, and Florida were three of the states with the largest number of foreign-born Hispanics in 2000, they were also among the 10 states that experienced the smallest growth in their foreign-born Hispanic populations. The only state to have experienced a negative growth rate was Hawaii (-13 percent). Louisiana (30 percent), the District of Columbia (31 percent), and Maine (35 percent) experienced the smallest positive percentage changes, followed by California (42 percent), Montana (49 percent), New York (54 percent), Vermont (61 percent), Florida (62 percent), and West Virginia (65 percent).
In 2000, the five states with the largest Hispanic populations, including both native and foreign born, were California (11 million), Texas, (6.7 million), New York (2.9 million), Florida (2.7 million), and Illinois (1.5 million). These same five states also had the largest Hispanic populations in 1990.
Results from Census 2000 indicate that the states that experienced the largest percentage increase in their total Hispanic populations included North Carolina (440 percent), Arkansas (337 percent), and Georgia (324 percent), followed by Tennessee (284 percent), South Carolina (228 percent), Nevada (224 percent), and Alabama (208 percent).
U.S. Census Bureau, 1990 Census of Population and Housing and Census 2000, Summary File 3.