Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Hispanics of Colombian Origin in the United States, 2008

Fact Sheet

A total of 882,000 Hispanics of Colombian origin resided in the United States in 2008, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. 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 1.9% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2008. Mexicans constituted 30.7 million, or 65.7%, of the Hispanic population.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 Hispanic Center tabulations of the 2008 American Community Survey. Key facts include:

  • Immigration status. Two-thirds of Colombians (66.5%) in the United States are foreign born compared with 38.1% of Hispanics and 12.5% of the U.S. population overall. Most immigrants from Colombia (58.7%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. Less than half of Colombian immigrants (48.8%) are U.S. citizens.
  • Language. A majority of Colombians (57.5%) speak English proficiently.2 Some 42.5% of Colombians ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 37.3% of all Hispanics.
  • Age. Colombians are older than Hispanics overall. The median age of Colombians is 36, which is the same as the median ages of the U.S. population; the median age of all Hispanics is 27.
  • Marital status. Colombians are more likely than Hispanics overall to be married—50.4% versus 46.5%.
  • Fertility. One-in-five (21.6%) Colombian women ages 15 to 44 who gave birth in the 12 months prior to the survey were unmarried. That was less than the rate for all Hispanic women—38.8%—and the rate for U.S. women—34.5%.
  • Regional dispersion. Colombians are concentrated in the South (46.8%), mostly in Florida (31.9%), and in the Northeast (37.3%), mostly in New York (16.1%) and New Jersey (12.9%).
  • Educational attainment. Colombians have higher levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Some 30.3% of Colombians ages 25 and older—compared with 12.9% of all U.S. Hispanics—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Income. The median annual personal earnings for Colombians ages 16 and older were $25,460 in 2008; the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics were $21,488.
  • Poverty status. The share of Colombians who live in poverty, 11.0%, is similar to the rate for the general U.S. population (12.7%) and lower than the rate for Hispanics overall (20.7%).
  • Health Insurance. One-quarter of Colombians (26.4%) do not have health insurance compared with 31.7% of all Hispanics and 15.4% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 16.6% of Colombians younger than 18 are uninsured.
  • Homeownership. The rate of Colombian homeownership (53.0%) is higher than the rate for all Hispanics (49.1%) but lower than the 66.6% 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 2008 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 2008 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 www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/accuracy2008.pdf. 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, 2008)). 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/Report10.pdf and http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/ASA_nelson.pdf).

  1. Percentages are computed before numbers are rounded.
  2. Colombians ages 5 and older who report speaking only English at home or speaking English very well.

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