February 12, 2001

The proportion of the Hispanic population age 25 and over with at least a bachelor's degree ranged from 23 percent for those of Cuban origin to 7 percent for those of Mexican origin, according to survey data collected in 2000 and released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. Overall, 11 percent of Hispanics 25 years and over reported having at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 28 percent of non-Hispanic Whites.

The Census Bureau cautions that these estimates, collected in the March 2000 Current Population Survey (CPS), should not be confused with Census 2000 results, which are scheduled for release over the next three years.

"The country's Latino population is quite diverse," said Roberto Ramirez, co-author with Melissa Therrien of The Hispanic Population in the United States: March 2000, and accompanying detailed tabels. "And this diversity is reflected in demographic and socioeconomic differences among people whose origins go back to Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, other countries in Central America and South America and Spain."

According to the 2000 CPS estimates, 12.8 million Hispanics were foreign-born; of this number, 1 in 4 were naturalized citizens. Among foreign-born Hispanics, 43 percent entered the United States in the 1990s, while 27 percent entered before 1980. Although 74 percent of those who entered the country before 1970 had obtained citizenship by 2000, only 7
percent of those who entered between 1990 and 2000 had become citizens. (The process of becoming a naturalized citizen usually requires five years of residence in the United States.)

Other findings:

-- Among Hispanics, 66 percent were of Mexican origin; 14 percent were of Central and South American origin; 9 percent were of Puerto Rican origin; 4 percent were of Cuban origin; and the remaining 6 percent were other Hispanics. The country's overall Latino population was close to 33 million, or 12 percent of the total population.

-- Of Latino groups, Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics were the most likely to live in central cities of metropolitan areas -- 61 percent and 57 percent, respectively. (These percentages were not statistically different.) Nearly half (46 percent) of all Hispanics lived in central cities of metropolitan areas, compared with slightly more than one-fifth of non-Hispanic Whites (21 percent).

-- Hispanics generally are younger than non-Hispanic Whites. Thirty-six percent of Hispanics were under 18 years old and only 5 percent were 65 or older; for non-Hispanic Whites, the corresponding proportions were 24 percent and 14 percent.

-- Among Hispanic family households, those with Mexican householders were the most likely to have five or more persons (36 percent). Hispanic family households were larger than their non-Hispanic White counterparts: 31 percent consisted of five or more persons, compared with 12 percent for family households with non-Hispanic White householders.

-- The proportion of Hispanics who had attained at least a high school education ranged from 73 percent for Cubans and 72 percent for other Hispanics to 51 percent for Mexicans. (The percentages for Cubans and other Hispanics were not statistically different.) Overall, 57 percent of Hispanics were high school graduates compared with 88 percent of non-Hispanic Whites.

-- Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to work in service occupations (19 percent versus 12 percent) and almost twice as likely to be employed as operators and laborers (22 percent versus 12 percent). Conversely, 14 percent of Hispanics were in managerial or professional occupations, compared with 33 percent of non-Hispanic Whites; among Latino groups, Mexicans were the least likely to work in managerial or professional occupations (12 percent).

-- Among Hispanic groups, Mexicans had the lowest proportion of full-time, year-round workers with annual earnings of $35,000 or more (21 percent). Overall, Hispanics were less likely than non-Hispanic Whites to have earnings of $35,000 or more (23 percent compared with 49 percent).

The report contains data for Latino groups and the entire Hispanic population on geographic distribution, age, nativity and citizenship status, family household size and marital status, educational attainment, employment status, occupation, earnings and poverty.

Released along with the report were 21 detailed tables, a slide presentation and an interactive quiz, accessible on the Internet. The March 2000 Current Population Survey uses the 1990 census as the base for its sample. Statistics from sample surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error.

Slide presentation CLICK below ( MS PowerPoint viewer required);



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