Hispanic Population in US Hits New High

Douglas A. McIntyre

There are nearly 60 million Hispanic people in the United States, which means they make up 18% of the population. The U.S. Census Bureau believes that number will grow substantially over the next several decades. In fact, the Pew Research Center reports that the Hispanic population in the United States reached an all-time high in 2018.

Pew reported 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, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.” The figure is extraordinary because in 1970 the figure was less than 10 million.

Pew experts wrote that the Hispanic population has several other characteristics, some of which many Americans are unlikely to know about. From 2005 to 2010, the growth rate of the Hispanic population was 3.4% a year. The rate has dropped to about 2% a year since then.

While the Hispanic population is heavily concentrated in California and Texas, it is not growing most rapidly in those states. From 2008 to 2018, the fastest growth was in the South, where the Hispanic population increased 33% over the period, based on a gain of 5.8 million. While Texas is part of this geographic section, California is not.

The states that added the highest percentage of Hispanic residents were mostly small ones, and ones not located in the South. For example, Pew researchers point out, 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. However, its total Hispanic population ranked 49th out of the 50 states in 2018.

Despite the movement of the Hispanic population to the South and some areas of the Midwest and eastern part of the country, the largest metropolitan concentrations remain in places in the United States that traditionally have had large Hispanic populations. Los Angeles County has the largest Hispanic population of any county by far, at 4.9 million, over twice that of any other American county. Harris County in Texas ranks second at just above 2 million. Harris includes the city of Houston.

The worst states for Hispanics are concentrated in the eastern part of America. This is based on high poverty rates and low ownership rates. So, as the Hispanic population grows, the opportunities for this group vary widely by geographic area.