A total of 1.6 million Hispanics of Cuban origin resided in the United States in 2008, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Cubans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Cuban origin; this means either they themselves are Cuban immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Cuba. Cubans are the third-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 3.5% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2008. Mexicans constituted 30.7 million, or 65.7%, and Puerto Ricans 4.2 million, or 8.9%, of the Hispanic population.1

This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Cuban population with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the 2008 American Community Survey. Key facts include:

  • Immigration status. Six-in-ten Cubans (60.1%) in the United States are foreign born compared with 38.1% of Hispanics and 12.5% of the U.S. population overall. Most immigrants from Cuba (57.2%) arrived in the U.S. before 1990. Most Cuban immigrants (58.2%) are U.S. citizens.
  • Language. A majority of Cubans (58.3%) speak English proficiently.2 Some 41.7% of Cubans ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 37.3% of all Hispanics.
  • Age. Cubans are older than the U.S. population and Hispanics overall. The median age of Cubans is 41; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 36 and 27, respectively.
  • Marital status. Cubans are more likely than Hispanics overall to be married—49.1% versus 46.5%.
  • Fertility. One-quarter (26.1%) of Cuban women ages 15 to 44 who gave birth in the 12 months prior to the survey were unmarried. That was less than the rate for all Hispanic women—38.8%—and the rate for U.S. women—34.5%.
  • Regional dispersion. Cubans are the most geographically concentrated Hispanic origin group. Nearly seven-in-ten (68.5%) live in Florida.
  • Educational attainment. Cubans have higher levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Twenty-five percent of Cubans ages 25 and older—compared with 12.9% of all U.S. Hispanics—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Income. The median annual personal earnings for Cubans ages 16 and older were $26,478 in 2008; the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics were $21,488.
  • Poverty status. The share of Cubans who live in poverty, 13.2%, is similar to that of the general U.S. population (12.7%) and below the 20.7% share among all Hispanics.
  • Health Insurance. Nearly one-quarter of Cubans (22.7%) do not have health insurance compared with 31.7% of all Hispanics and 15.4% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 14.5% of Cubans younger than 18 are uninsured.
  • Homeownership. The rate of Cuban homeownership (59.7%) is higher than the rate for all Hispanics (49.1%) but lower than the 66.6% rate for the U.S. population as a whole.

About the Data

This statistical profile of Hispanics of Cuban origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2008 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 2008 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/accuracy2008.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, 2008)). 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/library/2004/Report10.pdf and http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/methodology/ASA_nelson.pdf).