More than four-in-ten (44%) Hispanics live in the 10 largest metropolitan areas, by Hispanic population.4
The Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA, metropolitan area has the nation’s largest Latino population—5.8 million—and alone accounts for about one-in-ten (11%) Latinos nationally.5 The New York-Northeastern New Jersey metropolitan area is the second largest by Latino population (4.3 million) and is home to 8% of Latinos nationwide.
Two states contain six of the 10 largest Hispanic metropolitan populations. California has three– Los Angeles (#1), Riverside-San Bernardino (#4) and San Francisco-Oakland-Vallejo (#9). Texas is also home to three of the 10 largest Hispanic metropolitan areas— Houston-Brazoria (#3), Dallas-Fort Worth (#6) and San Antonio (#10). The other four largest Hispanic metropolitan populations are New York (#2); Chicago, IL (#5); Miami-Hialeah, FL (#7); and Phoenix, AZ (#8). Overall, each of the 10 largest Hispanic metropolitan areas has a Hispanic population of more than 1 million and Hispanics are the largest minority group in each.
The Hispanic share of the total population in each of the 10 largest metro areas ranges from a low of 21% in Chicago to a high of 65% in Miami. Miami and San Antonio (55%) are the only two metro areas among the 10 largest where Hispanics are a majority of the population. Among the top 60 metropolitan areas, Hispanics account for half or more in an additional 11.6
Among the 60 metropolitan areas with the largest Latino populations, two have populations that are almost entirely Latino. The population of Laredo, TX, metropolitan area—with the 37th largest Latino population—is 95% Latino. The McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr-Mission, TX, metropolitan area—which has the 13th largest Hispanic population—is 91% Latino.
From 2000 to 2011, the Hispanic population increased in every one of the top 60 metropolitan areas. The population increase ranged from a low of 14% in Los Angeles (which has the largest Hispanic population overall, and whose overall total population increased by 5%) to a high of 197% in Indianapolis (the 60th largest, and which experienced a total population increase of 16%).
Compared with the Hispanic growth, these top 60 metro areas experienced more modest overall population changes in the same time period, from a high of a 43% increase among three areas (Fort Myers, FL, Las Vegas, NV, and Austin, TX) to a low of a slight decrease or no change among another three cities. Providence, RI, experienced no overall population change, while Salinas, CA, and Detroit, MI, saw decreases of 3% and 4% during that period, respectively.
Among the 10 largest metropolitan areas by Hispanic population, Mexicans are the largest Hispanic origin group in eight. The Mexican share of the Hispanic population in these eight areas ranges from a low of 70% in the San Francisco metropolitan area to a high of 91% in Phoenix.
In Miami and New York, Mexicans are not the largest Hispanic origin group. More than half (54%) of the Miami metropolitan area’s Hispanic population is Cuban. In the New York metropolitan area, Puerto Ricans are the largest Hispanic group, making up 28% of all Hispanics. They are closely followed by Dominicans, who make up 21% of the area’s Hispanic population.
Mexicans are the largest Hispanic origin group in 49 of the top 60 metro areas, and they account for 95% or more of the Hispanic population in eight metro areas in the top 60. The Mexican share is highest in McAllen, TX, where they account for nearly all (98%) of the area’s Hispanics.8
In Miami, two-thirds (66%) of the Hispanic population is foreign born, a share higher than any of the top 60 metro areas and the only top 10 metro area in which more than half of Hispanics are foreign born.
By contrast, only 17% of Hispanics in the San Antonio area are foreign born. For U.S. Hispanics overall, the foreign-born share is 36%.
Among the top 60 metro areas by Hispanic population, Corpus Christi, TX, has the lowest foreign-born share among Hispanics at 8%. Corpus Christi is the 46th largest metropolitan area by Hispanic population and is the only metropolitan area in the top 60 where fewer than one-in-ten Hispanics were born outside the U.S.
From 2000 to 2011, the foreign-born Hispanic population increased in all of the top 60 metro areas by Hispanic population except for one— Los Angeles (a decline of 3%). The greatest change was in Fort Myers, FL, with an increase of 211% among Hispanics born outside the U.S. Including Fort Myers, seven metro areas experienced a growth of more than 100% among the foreign-born Hispanic population between 2000 and 2011.
In the same time period, the native-born population was also increasing—and at a generally higher rate. The greatest increase, of 281%, occurred in Raleigh, NC. A total of thirteen metro areas, including Raleigh, experienced growth of greater than 100% among their native-born Hispanic populations. The smallest increase was in Salinas, CA (20%).
When discussing the largest metropolitan areas, the report is referring to the largest areas by Hispanic population. ↩
All population estimates presented in this report are for Hispanics living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. ↩
The other 11 metropolitan areas are: Laredo, TX (95%), McAllen, TX (91%), Brownsville, TX (88%), El Paso, TX (81%), Las Cruces, NM (66%), Visalia, CA (61%), Yuma, AZ (60%), Merced, CA (56%); Corpus Christi, TX (53%); Fresno, CA (51%); Salinas, CA (51%). ↩
Hispanic origin is based on self-described family ancestry or place of birth in response to a question on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Ancestry is not necessarily the same as the place of birth of the respondent, nor is it indicative of immigrant or citizenship status. For example a U.S. citizen born in Los Angeles of Mexican immigrant parents or grandparents may (or may not) identify his or her Hispanic origin as Mexico. Likewise, some immigrants born in Mexico may identify another country as their origin depending on the place of birth of their ancestors. ↩
The other seven metro areas where the Hispanic population is 95% or more Mexican origin are: Yuma, AZ (98%); Brownsville-Harlingen-San Benito, TX (97%); Las Cruces, NM (96%); El Paso, TX (96%); Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, CA (95%); Odessa, TX (95%); Laredo, TX (95%). ↩
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts.