An estimated 33.5 million Hispanics of Mexican origin resided in the United States in 2011, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Mexicans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Mexican origin; this means either they themselves are Mexican immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Mexico. Mexicans are the largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for nearly two-thirds (64.6%) of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2011.1

This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Mexican 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. More than one-third (35%) of Mexicans in the United States are foreign born compared with 36% of Hispanics and 13% of the U.S. population overall. About two-in-three immigrants from Mexico (65%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. About one-quarter of Mexican immigrants (24%) are U.S. citizens.
  • Language. Two-thirds (66%) of Mexicans ages 5 and older speak English proficiently.2 The other 34% of Mexicans report speaking English less than very well, equal to the share among all Hispanics.
  • Age. Mexicans are younger than both the U.S. population and Hispanics overall. The median age of Mexicans is 25; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 37 and 27, respectively.
  • Marital status. Mexicans ages 15 and older are slightly more likely (45%) to be married than Hispanics overall (43%) but less likely than the U.S. population overall (48%).
  • Fertility. Almost one-in-ten (8%) Mexican women ages 15 to 44 gave birth in the 12 months prior to this survey. That was the same as the rate for all Hispanic women—8%—and slightly higher than the overall rate for U.S. women—6%. More than four-in-ten (45%) Mexican women ages 15 to 44 who gave birth in the 12 months prior to the survey were unmarried. That was similar to the rate for all Hispanic women—47%—and greater than the overall rate for U.S. women—38%.
  • Regional dispersion. More than half of Mexicans live in the West (52%), mostly in California (36%), and another 35% live in the South, mostly in Texas (26%).
  • Educational attainment. Mexicans have lower levels of education than the Hispanic population overall and the U.S. population overall. Some 10% of Mexicans 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 Mexicans ages 16 and older were $20,000 in the year prior to the survey, the same as for U.S. Hispanics in total; the median earnings for the U.S. population were $29,000.
  • Poverty status. The share of Mexicans who live in poverty, 28%, is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population (16%) and slightly higher than the rate for Hispanics overall (26%).
  • Health Insurance. One-third of Mexicans (33%) do not have health insurance compared with 30% of all Hispanics and 15% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 14% of Mexicans younger than 18 are uninsured.
  • Homeownership. The rate of Mexican homeownership (49%) is higher than the rate for all Hispanics (46%) but lower than the 65% rate for the U.S. population as a whole.

About the Data

This statistical profile of Hispanics of Mexican 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).

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