A total of 591,000 Hispanics of Ecuadorian origin resided in the United States in 2008, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Ecuadorians in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Ecuadorian origin; this means either they themselves are Ecuadorian immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Ecuador. Ecuadorians are the ninth-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 1.3% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2008. Mexicans constituted 30.7 million, or 65.7%, of the Hispanic population.1
This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Ecuadorian 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. Two-thirds of Ecuadorians (66.4%) in the United States are foreign born compared with 38.1% of Hispanics and 12.5% of the U.S. population overall. Two-thirds of immigrants from Ecuador (66.2%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. Nearly four-in-ten Ecuadorian immigrants (37.2%) are U.S. citizens.
- Language. Less than half of Ecuadorians (49.1%) speak English proficiently.2 Some 50.9% of Ecuadorians ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 37.3% of all Hispanics.
- Age. Ecuadorians are younger than the U.S. population and older than Hispanics overall. The median age of Ecuadorians is 32; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 36 and 27, respectively.
- Marital status. Ecuadorians are more likely than Hispanics overall to be married—50.7% versus 46.5%.
- Fertility. Two-in-ten (20.8%) of Ecuadorian 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. Two-thirds of Ecuadorians (68.0%) live in the Northeast, and more than four-in-ten (42.5%) live in New York.
- Educational attainment. Ecuadorians have higher levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Some 18.2% of Ecuadorians 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 Ecuadorians ages 16 and older were $23,423 in 2008; the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics were $21,488.
- Poverty status. The share of Ecuadorians who live in poverty, 13.5%, is similar to the rate for the general U.S. population (12.7%) and below the 20.7% share among all Hispanics.
- Health Insurance. One-third of Ecuadorians (34.7%) do not have health insurance compared with 31.7% of all Hispanics and 15.4% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 16.4% of Ecuadorians younger than 18 are uninsured.
- Homeownership. The rate of Ecuadorian homeownership (40.3%) is lower than the rate for all Hispanics (49.1%) and the U.S. population (66.6%) as a whole.
About the Data
This statistical profile of Hispanics of Ecuadorian 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/Report10.pdf and http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/ASA_nelson.pdf).