An estimated 1.8 million Hispanics of Salvadoran origin resided in the United States in 2010, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Salvadorans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Salvadoran origin; this means either they themselves are Salvadoran immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to El Salvador. Salvadorans are the fourth-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 3.6% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2010. Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 32.9 million, or 64.9%, of the Hispanic population in 2010.1
This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Salvadoran population with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on tabulations from the 2010 American Community Survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.2 Key facts include:
- Immigration status. More than three-fifths of Salvadorans (62%) in the United States are foreign born compared with 37% of Hispanics and 13% of the U.S. population overall. Nearly two-thirds of immigrants from El Salvador (64%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. More than one-in-four Salvadoran immigrants (27%) are U.S. citizens.
- Language. Nearly half (46%) of Salvadorans ages 5 and older speak English proficiently.3 The other 54% of Salvadorans report speaking English less than very well, compared with 35% of all Hispanics.
- Age. Salvadorans are younger than the U.S. population but older than Hispanics overall. The median age of Salvadorans is 29; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 37 and 27, respectively.
- Marital status. Salvadorans are as likely as Hispanics overall to be married—44%.
- Fertility. Almost half (46%) of Salvadoran 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—45%—and the overall rate for U.S. women—38%.
- Regional dispersion. Salvadorans are concentrated in the West (41%), mostly in California (36%), and in the South (40%), mostly in Texas (13%).
- Educational attainment. Salvadorans have lower levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Less than one-in-ten (7%) Salvadorans ages 25 and older—compared with 13% of all U.S. Hispanics—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Income. The median annual personal earnings for Salvadorans ages 16 and older were $20,000 in 2010, the same as the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics.
- Poverty status. The share of Salvadorans who live in poverty, 20%, is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population (15%) and less than the rate for Hispanics overall (25%).
- Health Insurance. Four-in-ten Salvadorans (41%) do not have health insurance compared with 31% of all Hispanics and 16% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 15% of Salvadorans younger than 18 are uninsured.
- Homeownership. The rate of Salvadoran homeownership (42%) is lower than the rate for all Hispanics (47%) and lower than the 65% rate for the U.S. population as a whole.
About the Data
This statistical profile of Hispanics of Salvadoran origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2010 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 2010 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 http://www.census.gov/acs/www/methodology/methodology_main/. 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/methodology/ASA_nelson.pdf, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/laborfor/laborfactsheet092209.html and http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/datasources/factsheet.html).