Revised May 14, 2008
There are 30.1 million Hispanic adults in the United States and 14.4 million of them—or 48%—are women, according to recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates.1 This fact sheet describes the demographic, employment and income characteristics of Hispanic women in the U.S. using data from the 2007 Current Population Survey and the 2006 American Community Survey. It focuses on differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic women, between native-born and foreign-born Hispanic women, and among immigrant Hispanic women from different countries of origin.
Highlighted Characteristics of Adult Hispanic Women:
- Approximately half (48%) of all Hispanic women were born in the U.S. or born abroad to a parent who is a U.S. citizen; the other half (52%) were born in countries other than the U.S.
- Among immigrant Hispanic women, 57% have arrived since 1990. Six-in-ten Hispanic women immigrants were born in Mexico.
- Hispanic women are much younger than non-Hispanic women; their median age is 41, compared with a median age of 47 for non-Hispanic women. Native-born Hispanic women are even younger. Their median age is 39, compared with 42 for immigrant Hispanic women.
- The majority (55%) of all Hispanic women report that they speak only English in their home or that they speak English very well. Most of these English speakers are native born. Seven-in-ten (73%) immigrant Hispanic women report that they do not speak English in their home or that they do not speak English very well.
- Hispanic and non-Hispanic women are equally likely (54%) to be married. Hispanic women immigrants (63%) are more likely to be married than are native-born Hispanic women (44%), partially due to the fact that native-born Hispanic women are younger than immigrant Hispanic women.
- Hispanic women have a higher fertility rate2 than non-Hispanic women: 84 births per 1,000 women in the year preceding the date of the survey, compared with 63 births per 1,000 Non-Hispanic women. Much of this difference is due to the higher fertility rate of immigrant women (96 births per 1,000 women) compared with native-born Hispanic women (73 births per 1,000 women).
- Hispanic women who gave birth were more likely to be unmarried (42%) than were non-Hispanic women (34%) who gave birth. The share of out-of-wedlock births to Hispanic women immigrants (35%) was nearly equal to that of non-Hispanic women and was much lower than the share for native-born Hispanic women (50%).
- Hispanic women are less educated than non-Hispanic women. Some 36% have less than a high school education, compared with 10% of non-Hispanic women. Nearly half (49%) of all Hispanic women immigrants have less than a high school education; a similar share (46%) of native-born Hispanic women have at least some college education.
- The labor force participation rate of Hispanic women (59%) is similar to the participation rate for non-Hispanic women (61%). Native-born Hispanic women (64%) have a higher participation rate.
- Hispanic women who work full time earn less than non-Hispanic women who work full time: a median of $460 per week, compared with $615 per week for non-Hispanic women. Native-born Hispanic women earn a median of $540 per week, while immigrant women earn $400.
- Hispanic women are twice as likely as non-Hispanic women to live in poverty; 20% of Hispanic women are poor compared with 11% of non-Hispanic women.
- The most common occupations of Hispanic women are office and administrative support positions; 21% Hispanic women work in those types of occupations. This share is similar to that of non-Hispanic women, 22% of whom work in those occupations.
- Hispanic women are more likely than non-Hispanic women to be employed in blue-collar occupations such as building, grounds cleaning and maintenance (10% versus 2%); food preparation and serving related jobs (9% versus 6%); production (8% versus 4%); and personal care and service occupations (7% versus 5%).
Rakesh Kochhar and Susan Minushkin were instrumental in determining the content and focus of this fact sheet. The author thanks them for their guidance, input and editorial comments. Jeff Passel and Rick Fry provided much appreciated help with the fertility and income calculations, respectively. Gretchen Livingston and Susan Minushkin checked the numbers in the text, figures and appendix tables for consistency and accuracy.
A Note on Terminology
“Adults” are ages 18 and older.
“Foreign-born” refers to an individual who is not a U.S. citizen at birth or, in other words, who was born outside the U.S., Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories and who does not have a U.S. citizen parent.
The terms “foreign-born” and “immigrant” are used interchangeably throughout the fact sheet.
Most demographic, labor force, and earnings and income data presented in this fact sheet come from the Current Population Survey. The CPS, a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted jointly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, is best known as the source for monthly unemployment statistics. Data on earnings are available for one-quarter of the monthly sample. Twelve monthly samples with earnings data are combined to create a merged outgoing rotation group (MORG) data file, which is used to analyze one year of data. Every March, both the sample size and the questionnaire of the CPS are augmented to produce the Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which provides additional data on several subjects, including household income. The CPS MORG and March Supplement data files used in this report were obtained from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Technical documentation for the CPS can be found at http://www.census.gov/cps/methodology/techdocs.html.
The data presented in the fertility and language sections come from the 2006 American Community Survey. The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of about 3 million addresses. It is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and covers virtually the same topics as those in the long form of the decennial census. The specific microdata used in this report are the 1% samples of the decennial censuses and the 2006 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) provided by the University of Minnesota. More information about the IPUMS, including variable definition and sampling error, is available at http://usa.ipums.org/usa/design.shtml.
Population totals from the monthly CPS, March CPS supplement and the ACS necessarily differ due to the application of different weights to the data sets. The CPS data are weighted to agree with population estimates for the civilian, non-institutional population while the ACS data are weighted to agree with population estimates for the total population. The reference dates of the data sets also differ. The CPS MORG and the ACS are weighted to reflect the estimated population as of July of the survey year, whereas the CPS March supplement is weighted to reflect the estimated population as of March of the survey year.
Each year the U.S. Census Bureau updates the population estimates for all dates since 2000, incorporating the latest available data and new methodologies when applicable. The population estimates presented in the first paragraph of this fact sheet are based upon the most recent estimates from the Census Bureau and differ from population totals provided by the 2007 monthly CPS, the CPS March 2007 Supplement and 2006 ACS.
A Note on Numbers
Numbers presented in the text and figures are rounded to the nearest whole number. When two categories are discussed jointly in the text, e.g. English only or English very well, the number presented is the summation of the two non-rounded data points. As a result, some of the numbers in the text differ from numbers in figures by one percentage point. Where this occurs, the number cited in the text should be regarded as the most accurate.