Colombians in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Colombian origin; this means either they themselves are Colombian immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Colombia.
Colombians are the seventh-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 2% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2013. Since 1990, the Colombian-origin population has almost tripled, growing from 378,000 to 1.1 million over the period. At the same time, the foreign-born population of Colombian origin living in the U.S. grew by 131%, up from 282,000 in 1990 to 653,000 in 2013. In comparison, Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 34.6 million, or 64.1%, of the Hispanic population in 2013.1
This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Colombian population with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on Pew Research Center tabulations of the 2013 American Community Survey. Key facts include:
- Immigration status. About six-in-ten Colombians (61%) in the United States are foreign born, compared with 35% of Hispanics and 13% of the U.S. population overall. Four-in-ten immigrants from Colombia have been in the U.S. for over 20 years. A little over half of Colombian immigrants (56%) are U.S. citizens.
- Language. A majority (64%) of Colombians ages 5 and older speak English proficiently.2 The other 36% of Colombians report speaking English less than very well, compared with 32% of all Hispanics. In addition, 83% of Colombians ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home.
- Age. Colombians are younger than the U.S. population but older than Hispanics overall. The median age of Colombians is 34; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 37 and 28, respectively. Among Colombians, the median age of immigrants is 45 years, while it’s only 17 years among the U.S. born.
- Marital status. Colombians ages 18 and older are roughly as likely to be married (49%) as Hispanics overall (46%) and the U.S. population overall (50%). Among Colombians ages 18 and older, the foreign born are more likely to be married than those who are U.S. born—55% vs. 31%.
- Fertility. Some 4% of Colombian women ages 15 to 44 gave birth in the 12 months prior to this survey. This was slightly less than the rate for all Hispanic women (7%) and the overall rate for U.S. women (6%).
- Regional dispersion. Colombians are concentrated in the South (51%), mostly in Florida (33%), and the Northeast (32%), mostly in New York (14%) and New Jersey (11%).
- Educational attainment. Colombians have higher levels of education than the U.S. Hispanic population and slightly higher levels than the U.S. population overall. Some 33% of Colombians ages 25 and older—compared with 14% of all U.S. Hispanics and 30% among the entire U.S. population—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree. Among Colombians ages 25 and older, the U.S. born are more likely to have earned a bachelor’s degree or more than foreign-born Colombians—42% vs. 30%.
- Income. The median annual personal earnings for Colombians ages 16 and older was $25,000 in the year prior to the survey—higher than the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics ($21,900) but lower than the median earnings for the U.S. population ($30,000).
- Poverty status. The share of Colombians who live in poverty, 16%, is the same as the rate for the general U.S. population and lower than the rate for Hispanics overall (25%).
- Health insurance. One-quarter of Colombians do not have health insurance, compared with 29% of all Hispanics and 15% of the general U.S. population. Some 11% of Colombians younger than 18 are uninsured. (These data reflect insurance rates prior to the implementation of the individual insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act.)
- Homeownership. The rate of Colombian homeownership (45%) is the same as the rate for all Hispanics but lower than the 64% rate for the U.S. population as a whole.
About the Data
This statistical profile of Hispanics of Colombian origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2013 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 2013 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 S. Passel. 2007. “Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization.” Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center, March). 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/hhes/www/laborfor/laborfactsheet092209.html and http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/datasources/factsheet.html).