The Census Bureau has published this brief on the Hispanic or Latino population in the United States.   According to the 2010 Census, 308.7 million people resided in the United States on April 1, 2010, of which 50.5 million (or 16 percent) were of Hispanic or Latino origin. The Hispanic population increased from 35.3 million in 2000 when this group made up 13 percent of the total population.  Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, which was four times the growth in the total population at 10 percent.

The 2010 Census question on Hispanic origin included five separate response categories and one area where respondents could write in a specific Hispanic origin group. The first response category is intended for respondents who do not identify as Hispanic or Latino. The remaining response categories (“Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano;” “Puerto Rican;” “Cuban;” and “Another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin”) and write-in answers are combined for the OMB category of Hispanic.

The Mexican origin population increased by 54 percent and had the largest numeric change (11.2 million), growing from 20.6 million in 2000 to 31.8 million in 2010.   Puerto Ricans grew by 36 percent, increasing from 3.4 million to 4.6 million. The Cuban population increased by 44 percent, growing from 1.2 million in 2000 to 1.8 million in 2010. Hispanics who reported other origins increased by 22 percent, from 10.0 million to 12.3 million.  These other Hispanic groups with the largest populations in 2010 were Salvadorans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Columbians, and Hondurans.

The states with the largest Hispanic or Latino population in 2010 were California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois, accounting for nearly 66% of the total national Hispanic population.  The states where the Hispanic or Latino population grew the fastest between 2000 and 2010 were South Carolina (148%), Alabama (145%), Tennessee (134%), Kentucky (121%), Arkansas (114%), North Carolina (111%), Maryland (107%), Mississippi (106%), and South Dakota (103%).

The places with the highest number of Hispanic or Latino residents were New York, Los Angeles, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Phoenix, El Paso, Dallas, San Diego, and San Jose.  There were 4.7 million Hispanics in Los Angeles County, California; 1.7 million in Harris County, Texas; 1.6 million in Miami-Dade County, Florida; 1.2 million in Cook County, Illinois; 1.1 million in Maricopa County, Arizona; and 1.0 million in each of the following counties: Orange, California; Bexar, Texas; and San Bernardino, California.

For the 2010 Census, a new instruction was added immediately preceding the questions on Hispanic origin and race, which was not used in Census 2000. The instruction stated that “For this census, Hispanic origins are not races” because in the federal statistical system, Hispanic origin is considered to be a separate concept from race.  In both the 2000 and 2010 Census, respondents were able to select “Some Other Race” as an option.  Racial classification issues continue to persist among those who identify as Hispanic, resulting in a substantial proportion of that population (nearly 37%) selecting to be categorized as Some Other Race.

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