A total of 860,000 Hispanics of Guatemalan origin resided in the United States in 2007, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Guatemalans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Guatemalan origin; this means either they themselves are Guatemalan immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Guatemala. Guatemalans are the sixth-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 1.9% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2007. Mexicans constituted 29.2 million, or 64.3%, of the Hispanic population.1
This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Guatemalan population with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the 2007 American Community Survey. Key facts include:
- Immigration status. Seven-in-ten Guatemalans (69.0%) in the United States are foreign born compared with 39.8% of Hispanics and 12.6% of the U.S. population overall. Two-thirds of immigrants from Guatemala (67.4%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. Two-in-ten Guatemalan immigrants (22.9%) are U.S. citizens.
- Language. Four-in-ten Guatemalans (40.3%) speak English proficiently.2 Some 59.7% of Guatemalans ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 38.8% of all Hispanics.
- Age. Guatemalans are younger than the U.S. population. The median age of Guatemalans is 27, which is the same as the median age of all Hispanics; the median age of the U.S. population is 36.
- Marital status. Guatemalans are less likely than Hispanics overall to be married—44.0% versus 47.3%.
- Fertility. Four-in-ten (43.4%) Guatemalan women ages 15 to 44 who gave birth in the 12 months prior to the survey were unmarried. That was greater than the rate for all Hispanic women—38.1%—and the rate for U.S. women—33.4%.
- Regional dispersion. Four-in-ten Guatemalans (42.3%) live in the West, mostly in California (35.1%).
- Educational attainment. Guatemalans have lower levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Some 54.1% of Guatemalans ages 25 and older—compared with 39.4% of all U.S. Hispanics—have not obtained at least a high school diploma.
- Income. The median annual personal earnings for Guatemalans ages 16 and older were $18,518 in 2007; the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics were $21,048.
- Poverty status. The share of Guatemalans who live in poverty, 19.0%, is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population (11.9%) and similar to the share for all Hispanics (19.5%).
- Homeownership. The rate of Guatemalan homeownership (35.3%) is lower than the rate for all Hispanics (49.9%) and the U.S. population (67.2%) as a whole.
About the Data
This statistical profile of Hispanics of Guatemalan origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2007 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of about 3 million addresses. The data used for this statistical profile come from 2007 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), representing a 1% sample of the U.S. population.
Like any survey, estimates from the ACS are subject to sampling error and (potentially) measurement error. Information on the ACS sampling strategy and associated error is available at www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/accuracy2007.pdf. An example of measurement error is that citizenship rates for the foreign born are estimated to be overstated in the Decennial Census and other official surveys, such as the ACS (see Jeffrey Passel. “Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization,” Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2007)). Finally, estimates from the ACS may differ from the Decennial Census or other Census Bureau surveys due to differences in methodology and data collection procedures (see, for example, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/Report10.pdf and http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/ASA_nelson.pdf).