Answer: The percentage of Hispanics as part of the overall U.S. population is 18%.
As the mainstream media and politicians in Washington argue about the crisis at America’s southern border, viewers are bombarded by visuals of individuals, families, and caravans working their way through Mexico with hopes of entering the United States. With that said, these recurring images beg the questions: who is considered Hispanic and what percent of the overall population already in the United States is comprised by this group of people? To start, the U.S. Census Bureau defines the ethnonym “Hispanic” or Latino as referring to “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race” and states that Hispanics or Latinos can be of any race, any ancestry, any ethnicity. In regards to the second question about the current population that already exists within the United States, a recent Pew Research Study showed that the U.S. Hispanic population reached a record 59.9 million in 2018, up 1.2 million over the previous year and up from 47.8 million in 2008. As the Hispanic population within the U.S. grows, it only makes sense that more foreign Hispanics will be attracted to trying their luck at becoming American citizens.
While the U.S. Hispanic population reached a record 59.9 million in 2018, population growth among Hispanics has slowed as the annual number of births to Hispanic women has declined and immigration has decreased, particularly from Mexico according to Pew. More specifically, from 2005 to 2010, the nation’s Hispanic population grew by an average of 3.4% per year, but this rate has declined to 2.0% a year since then. In contrast, “the white population saw negligible growth between 2015 and 2018, while the black population had an annual average growth of less than 1% over the same period. Only Asian Americans have seen faster population growth than Hispanics, with a 2.8% growth rate between 2015 and 2018.” Specific regions of the United States saw faster growth as well. In the South, the Latino population grew 33% during this period, reaching 22.7 million in 2018, up 5.6 million from 2008. States like Texas and Florida saw some of the highest growth, which makes sense seeing as how their landmass’ are the gateway to America if traveling from the south.
In terms of specific counties, Los Angeles had more Hispanics than any other U.S. county, with 4.9 million in 2018. The next largest were Harris County, Texas (2.0 million), and Miami-Dade County, Florida (1.9 million). That being said, every region in the U.S. saw growth. And there were areas of historic growth not typically associated with Latinos, including North Dakota as pointed out by the Washington Examiner. Said Pew, “The states with the fastest Hispanic population growth tend to have relatively small Hispanic populations – and are not in the South. North Dakota’s Hispanic population grew by 135% between 2008 and 2018 – from 12,600 to 29,500, the fastest growth rate of any state. One important takeaway is that Latinos are among the youngest racial or ethnic groups in the U.S. but saw one of the largest increases in median age over the past decade. Latinos had a median age of 30 in 2018, up from 27 in 2008 according to Pew.