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An estimated 180,000 Hispanics of Costa Rican origin lived in the United States in 2021, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Costa Ricans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Costa Rican origin; this includes immigrants from Costa Rica and those who trace their family ancestry to Costa Rica.
Costa Ricans are the 17th-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for less than 1% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2021. From 2000 to 2021, the Costa Rican-origin population increased 148%, growing from 75,000 to 180,000. At the same time, the Costa Rican foreign-born population living in the U.S. grew by 56%, from 55,000 in 2000 to 80,000 in 2021.
For a downloadable spreadsheet of these findings, see “U.S. Hispanic population data (detailed tables).”
|Year||Total||U.S. born||Foreign born|
Note: Figures greater than 1 million are rounded to the nearest 100,000; other figures greater than 100,000 are rounded to the nearest 10,000; figures that are less than or equal to 100,000 and greater than 25,000 are rounded to the nearest 5,000.
Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of the 2000 census (5% IPUMS) and the 2010 and 2021 American Community Surveys (1% IPUMS).
The following key facts compare demographic and economic characteristics of the Costa Rican-origin population in the U.S. with the characteristics of U.S. Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. They are based on Pew Research Center tabulations of the 2021 American Community Survey.
- Among Hispanics in the U.S., 32% are foreign born, compared with 45% of U.S. Costa Ricans.
- 53% of foreign-born Costa Ricans have been in the U.S. for over 20 years, and 53% of foreign-born Costa Ricans are U.S. citizens.
- 20% of U.S. Hispanics ages 25 and older have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 38% of Costa Ricans.
- Among Costa Ricans ages 25 and older, the U.S. born are more likely than the foreign born to have a bachelor’s degree or higher (45% vs. 34%).
- Among U.S. Hispanics, the median annual personal earnings for those ages 16 and older was $30,000, compared with $35,000 for Costa Ricans.
- Looking at full-time, year-round workers, U.S. Hispanics earned less than Costa Ricans ($40,000 vs. $51,000).
- The share of all U.S. Hispanics who live in poverty (18%) is greater than among Costa Ricans (9%).
- 8% of U.S.-born Costa Ricans live in poverty, as do 10% of foreign-born Costa Ricans.
- The rate of homeownership among U.S. Hispanic households (51%) is similar to the rate for Costa Rican households (53%).
- Among Costa Rican households in the U.S., rates of homeownership are about the same for those headed by U.S.-born and foreign-born household heads (53% vs. 52%).
Top states of residence
- The Costa Rican population is concentrated in Florida (16%), California (14%), New Jersey (11%), Texas (7%) and New York (7%).
- The median age of U.S. Hispanics (29.5) is lower than that of Costa Ricans (33.5) and the U.S. population (37.8).
- U.S. Hispanics ages 18 and older are less likely to be married (46%) than Costa Ricans (50%).
- Among Costa Ricans ages 18 and older, those who are foreign born are more likely to be married than the U.S. born (60% vs. 37%).
- 6% of U.S. Hispanic females ages 15 to 44 gave birth in the 12 months prior to the July 2021 American Community Survey. The rate for Costa Rican females was 5%.
- 72% of U.S. Hispanics ages 5 and older speak only English at home or speak English at least “very well,” compared with 80% of Costa Ricans.
- Meanwhile, 67% of Hispanic adults are English proficient, as are 77% of Costa Rican adults.
Pew Research Center’s fact sheets on U.S. Latinos and the accompanying blog post examine the Latino population of the United States overall and by its 17 largest origin groups – Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Dominicans, Cubans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Hondurans, Spaniards, Ecuadorians, Peruvians, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Argentines, Panamanians, Chileans and Costa Ricans. These sheets provide detailed geographic, demographic and economic characteristics for all Latinos and for each Latino origin group. They are based on the Center’s tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 and 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2000 U.S. decennial census.
The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of more than 3 million addresses. It covers the topics previously covered in the long form of the decennial census. The ACS is designed to provide estimates of the size and characteristics of the resident population, which includes persons living in households and group quarters. For more about the ACS, including the sampling strategy and associated error, see the 2010 or 2021 American Community Survey’s Accuracy of the Data document provided by the Census Bureau.
The specific data sources for these fact sheets are the 1% samples of the 2010 and 2021 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) provided by the University of Minnesota and the 5% sample of the 2000 decennial census. IPUMS assigns uniform codes, to the extent possible, to data collected by the decennial census and the ACS from 1850 to 2021. For more information about IPUMS, including variable definition and sampling error, please visit the “IPUMS Documentation and User Guide.”
Due to differences in the way in which IPUMS and Census Bureau adjust income data and assign poverty status, data provided on these topics might differ from data that are provided by the Census Bureau.
For the purposes of these fact sheets, the foreign born include those persons who identified as naturalized citizens or noncitizens and are living in the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Persons born in Puerto Rico and other outlying territories of the U.S. and who are now living in the 50 states or D.C. are included in the U.S.-born population.