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 2.4% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2013. Since 1990, the Guatemalan-origin population has increased almost fivefold, growing from 267,000 to 1.3 million over the period. At the same time, the foreign-born population of Guatemalan origin living in the U.S. grew almost 300%, up from 213,000 in 1990 to 834,000 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 Guatemalan 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. Nearly two-in-three Guatemalans (64%) in the United States are foreign born, compared with 35% of Hispanics and 13% of the U.S. population overall. One-third of immigrants from Guatemala (30%) have been in the U.S. for 20 years or more. About one-quarter of Guatemalan immigrants (24%) are U.S. citizens.
- Language. More than four-in-ten Guatemalans (45%) speak English proficiently.2 Some 55% of Guatemalans ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 32% of all Hispanics. In addition, 88% of Guatemalans ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home.
- Age. Guatemalans are younger than the U.S. population. The median age of Guatemalans is 28; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 37 and 28, respectively. Among Guatemalans, the median age of immigrants is 35 years, while it’s only 11 years among the U.S. born.
- Marital status. Guatemalans ages 18 and older are married at a slightly lower rate (43%) than Hispanics overall (46%) and the U.S. population overall (50%).
- Fertility. About one-in-ten (9%) Guatemalan women ages 15 to 44 gave birth in the 12 months prior to this survey. That was similar to the rate for all Hispanic women (7%) and close to the overall rate for U.S. women (6%).
- Regional dispersion. About four-in-ten Guatemalans (37%) live in the West, mostly in California (31%). Roughly one-third (34%) live in the South.
- Educational attainment. Guatemalans have lower levels of education than the U.S. Hispanic population and the U.S. population overall. Some 9% of Guatemalans 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 Guatemalans ages 25 and older, the U.S. born are more likely to have earned a bachelor’s degree than foreign-born Guatemalans—27% vs. 7%.
- Income. The median annual personal earnings for Guatemalans ages 16 and older were $18,000 in the year prior to the survey—lower than the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics ($21,900) and the median earnings for the U.S. population ($30,000).
- Poverty status. The share of Guatemalans who live in poverty, 28%, is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population (16%) and for Hispanics overall (25%).
- Health insurance. More than four-in-ten Guatemalans (45%) do not have health insurance, compared with 29% of all Hispanics and 15% of the general U.S. population. Some 13% of Guatemalans 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 Guatemalan homeownership (28%) is lower than the rate for all Hispanics (45%) and the U.S. population (64%) as a whole. Among Guatemalans, U.S.-born Guatemalans have a higher homeownership rate compared with foreign-born Guatemalans—37% vs. 27%.
About the Data
This statistical profile of Hispanics of Guatemalan 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).