A record 33.7 million Hispanics of Mexican origin resided in the United States in 2012, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by Pew Research Center. This estimate includes 11.4 million immigrants born in Mexico and 22.3 million born in the U.S. who self-identified as Hispanics of Mexican origin.
Mexicans are by far the largest Hispanic-origin population in the U.S., accounting for nearly two-thirds (64%) of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2012.1 Hispanics of Mexican origin are also a significant portion of the U.S. population, accounting for 11% overall.
The size of the Mexican-origin population in the U.S. has risen dramatically over the past four decades as a result of one of the largest mass migrations in modern history. In 1970, fewer than 1 million Mexican immigrants lived in the U.S. By 2000, that number had grown to 9.8 million, and by 2007 it reached a peak of 12.5 million (Pew Hispanic Center, 2011). Since then, the Mexican-born population has declined as the arrival of new Mexican immigrants has slowed significantly (Passel et al., 2012). Today, 35% of Hispanics of Mexican origin were born in Mexico. And while the remaining two-thirds (65%) were born in the U.S., half (52%) of them have at least one immigrant parent.
Prior to the 1980s, most of the growth in the nation’s Mexican-origin population came from Hispanics of Mexican origin born in the U.S. However, since the 1980s—a decade after the current wave of Mexican migration took off—and up until 2000, more growth in the Mexican-origin population in the U.S. could be attributed to the arrival of Mexican immigrants. In the decade from 2000 to 2010, that pattern reversed—births surpassed immigration as the main driver of the dynamic growth in the U.S. Mexican-origin population (Pew Hispanic Center, 2011).
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