An estimated 1.2 million Hispanics of Guatemalan origin resided in the United States in 2011, 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 2.3% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2011. Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 33.5 million, or 64.6%, of the Hispanic population in 2011.1
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 tabulations from the 2011 American Community Survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Key facts include:
- Immigration status. Nearly two-in-three Guatemalans (64%) in the United States are foreign born compared with 36% of Hispanics and 13% of the U.S. population overall. More than seven-in-ten immigrants from Guatemala (74%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. Nearly one-quarter of Guatemalan immigrants (23%) are U.S. citizens.
- Language. More than four-in-ten Guatemalans (43%) speak English proficiently.2 Some 57% of Guatemalans ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 34% of all Hispanics.
- Age. Guatemalans are younger than U.S. population. The median age of Guatemalans is 27; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 37 and 27, respectively.
- Marital status. Guatemalans ages 15 and older are married at a lower rate (40%) than Hispanics overall (43%) and the U.S. population overall (48%).
- Fertility. About one-in-ten (9%) Guatemalan women ages 15 to 44 gave birth in the 12 months prior to this survey. That about the same as the rate for all Hispanic women—8%—and greater than the overall rate for U.S. women—6%.
- Regional dispersion. About four-in-ten Guatemalans (38%) live in the West, mostly in California (32%). Roughly one-third (34%) live in the South.
- Educational attainment. Guatemalans have lower levels of education than the Hispanic population overall and the U.S. population overall. Some 7% of Guatemalans ages 25 and older—compared with 13% of all U.S Hispanics and 29% among the entire U.S. population—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.
- Income. The median annual personal earnings for Guatemalans ages 16 and older were $17,000 in the year prior to the survey; the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics and the U.S population were $20,000 and $29,000, respectively.
- Poverty status. The share of Guatemalans who live in poverty, 29%, is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population (16%) and for all Hispanics (26%).
- Health Insurance. Nearly one-half of Guatemalans (46%) do not have health insurance compared with 30% of all U.S. Hispanics and 15% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 14% of Guatemalans younger than 18 are uninsured.
- Homeownership. The rate of Guatemalan homeownership (30%) is lower than the rate for all Hispanics (46%) and the U.S. population (65%) as a whole.
About the Data
This statistical profile of Hispanics of Guatemalan origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2011 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 2011 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).