Shedding Light on Race Reporting Among Hispanics

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Written by: Merarys Ríos-Vargas and Fabián Romero

Over the last few decades, many Census Bureau studies have examined race reporting among Hispanics on the census questionnaire, but these studies did not specifically look at those who self-reported being of Hispanic origin.

A new working paper, “Race Reporting Among Hispanics: 2010,” examines this topic and found that more than 40 percent of Hispanics who self-reported their origin did not report belonging to any federally recognized race group as defined by the Office of Management and Budget.

During the 2010 Census, questions on race and Hispanic origin were asked of everyone living in the United States. The standards of the Office of Management and Budget define “Hispanic or Latino”  as a person of  Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

In 2010, the vast majority of the Hispanic population self-reported their origin (94.2 percent) and 5.8 percent were imputed (i.e., assigned, allocated or substituted during data editing), see table below.  

Self-reported Hispanics are defined as those respondents who reported being of Hispanic origin. In other words, their Hispanic origin was not imputed (imputation is the process used to estimate missing data). If the question was left blank the origin was imputed by one of the following three imputation types: assigned, allocated or substituted

Hispanic or Latino Population by Response Type for the Question on Hispanic Origin: 2010

The table below shows the racial classification of Hispanics who self-reported their Hispanic origin in the 2010 Census.

It is interesting that more than two-fifths (43.5 percent) of self-reported Hispanics did not report belonging to any federally recognized race group. This includes 30.5 percent who reported or were classified as “Some Other Race” (SOR) only. Respondents are classified this way when they only check and/or write-in responses not categorized as any of the OMB race groups. An additional 13.0 percent of self-reported Hispanics did not provide a response to the race question.  

Hispanic or Latino Population by Type of Response to the Question on Race: 2010The top three SOR write-in codes reported in the 2010 Census shown in the table below— Mexican, Hispanic, and Latin American—constituted about three-fourths (77.0 percent) of all the SOR responses among Hispanics in 2010. The write-in codes Puerto Rican (3.7 percent), and Multiple SOR (3.6 percent) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The SOR write-in codes displayed in the last table represent edited SOR responses, and each code consists of multiple equivalent write-in responses. For example, write-in responses such as “Mexican American,” “Mexicana” and “Mexico” were coded as “Mexican.”

Top 5 Some Other Race Write-in Codes for the Hispanic or Latino Population: 2010The Census Bureau plans to examine race reporting among Hispanics throughout the decade through a series of regional and national census tests in order to provide more insights on Hispanic race reporting.

The findings from this study are intended to supplement the results presented in the “2010 Race and Hispanic Origin Alternative Questionnaire Experiment (AQE)” report.

For more detailed information, the working paper “Race Reporting Among Hispanics: 2010” also provides an overall demographic description of the self-reported Latino population and examines different types of responses to the race question by selected demographic characteristics and geographies.

Posted in Population, Race | Tagged , | 8 Comments

A More and More Metropolitan America

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Written by: Marc PerryCounty and Metro Population

Census Bureau population estimates released today reveal a nation becoming increasingly metropolitan. The percentage of our nation’s population living in a metropolitan area ticked up from 85.3 percent in 2012 to 85.4 percent in 2013.

While this may not look like much of an increase, it’s worth noting that the population living in such areas grew by 2.3 million over the period. At the same time, the population living in micropolitan statistical areas climbed by a mere 8,000, and the number living in neither metros nor micros dropped by more than 35,000. So metro areas were responsible for virtually all of our nation’s population growth.

Metro areas, by the way, contain a core urban area of at least 50,000 people and consist of the county or counties that area is located in, plus any adjacent counties from which a relatively large number of people commute to work in the urban core. Micro areas – the kid sister of sorts to metro areas ─ have a core with at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 people.

Large metro areas ─ those with populations of 1 million or more ─ collectively grew more than twice as fast as smaller ones (those with fewer than 250,000 residents).

Many of us now live in one of the biggest of the big metros. Nearly one in seven Americans reside in either the New York, Los Angeles or Chicago areas. And almost one in three live in one of the 10 most populous areas, which include the three just mentioned, plus Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, Atlanta and Boston.

The 10 fastest-growing areas are relatively small in size. And virtually all are located either in or near the Great Plains or in or near the Gulf Coast.

For more information on population changes in metro areas, see our population estimates released today at

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The “Second Great Wave” of Immigration: Growth of the Foreign-Born Population Since 1970

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Written By: Elizabeth M. Grieco

Many Americans can trace their ancestral roots to the “great wave” of immigration that occurred during the late 1800s and early 1900s. This is not surprising, as the foreign-born population grew rapidly during this period, doubling in size from 6.7 million in 1880 to 14.2 million in 1930. Between 1880 and 1930, the foreign-born population represented between 12 and 15 percent of the total population.

As immigration to the United States slowed after 1930 and the resident foreign-born population either died off or emigrated, the size of that population continued to decline, falling to 9.6 million in 1970, the lowest level in the 20th century. Less than 5 percent of the total population in 1970 – or less than one in 20 people – were foreign-born.

However, over the last four decades, the United States has experienced what many are calling the “second great wave” of immigration. Since 1970, the foreign-born population has continuously increased in size and as a percentage of the total U.S. population. The foreign-born population quadrupled after 1970, reaching 40.0 million by 2010, and about 13 percent of the total population – or one in eight – were foreign-born.

Once again, the country is approaching a percentage of foreign-born not seen since the late 1800s and early 1900s. Will this proportion continue to increase, perhaps exceeding the high of nearly 15 percent achieved in both 1890 and 1910?

At the moment, it is too early to tell. There is some evidence to suggest that the growth of the foreign-born population may be slowing, but even that is tenuous at this point. For example, according to the American Community Survey, the size of the foreign-born population grew by only 450,000 between 2011 and 2012, reaching 40.8 million. Also, between 2008 and 2012, the number of new arrivals – as measured by the number of foreign-born who reported they were living abroad the year before being surveyed – has remained at about 1 million each year.

Data collected in the next few years by the American Community Survey will help determine if the second great wave will continue to swell or if it has already crested.

For more information on the foreign-born population, please see the new report released today Noncitizens Under Age 35: 2010-2012.

Foreign Born population and percentage of total population

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Welcome to the Future of

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Byline: Lisa Wolfisch

If you have ever visited, you know that sorting through the vast array of information about America’s people, places and economy can be daunting.

Based on customer research and feedback we collected and analyzed over time, we heard loud and clear that both search and navigation of our site could be much better. Visitors to should not have to work so hard to find the information and statistics they are looking for to complete their research, personal projects or business needs.

Over the past two years, we have been making some modest enhancements to to make our content more accessible, understandable, useful and interesting to the broadest possible audience. You may be familiar with some of these enhancements, such as an improved Population Clock, new web tools like Easy Stats, Census Explorer and data visualizations, or the addition of our API. Today, we are taking these enhancements to the next level with the launch of

In a few weeks, we will officially launch the new site but you can take a sneak peak at it now and begin to familiarize yourself with its format. We hope the new will help you more easily find the information you need to make data driven decisions but do not worry, all of the information you rely upon is still available.

So what is different about the new The new site navigation brings together demographic and economic content around topics such as health, income and poverty, education and population. If you are interested in our health statistics, you can now access the “Health” web page to learn about Census Bureau statistics on disability, fertility, health insurance, healthcare industries, small area health insurance estimates, HIV/AIDS, social assistance and industries. In addition, theme pages will highlight a variety of content from working papers, publications, interactive tools and more. To help you find what you need, many of the pages also now include links to related content and popular services at the bottom.

As you check out the beta site, please be aware that links may take you back to the current site. We have a lot of content and the new will grow over time to include more updated pages.

We hope these changes will make it easier to find the information you need. In the coming months, you will also see changes to the results you get when you search for information on our site.

In line with the Digital Government Strategy, the new website is just one part of our digital transformation. Together with other innovations, such as our mobile apps, America’s Economy and dwellr, we are using 21st century technology to meet our centuries-old mission of making the statistics that define our growing, changing nation more accessible than ever before.

We are excited about the changes we are making to but they are all meaningless if they do not meet your needs.  We continue to encourage your feedback at and hope to construct a new site worthy of your daily interest and explorations.

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Marrying Older, But Sooner?

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Written By: Jonathan Vespa

The age when Americans marry for the first time has risen to its highest point since the 1950s. Although true, there is more to the story. With life expectancy increasing, Americans today are actually marrying sooner in their lifetime, despite marrying at older ages.

Taking the long view

Although it is common to use the 1950s as a comparison period, doing so exaggerates how much the age at marriage has really risen (Figure 1). Looking at trends since 1890 reveals a U-shaped curve in which the 1950s and 1960s stand out as the exception for marriage, not the norm (estimates for these two decades are not significantly different from one another).

By the end of the 19th century, men married for the first time at 26 years old, three years later than they did in the decade following the Second World War. By 1900 their age at marriage began falling, and it took a full century before returning to its 1890 level. For women, it took 90 years (Figure 1). The idea then that our great-great-grandparents married when they were little older than teenagers is little more than myth.The rising age at marriageThe rising age at marriage is not nearly as large if 1890 were the benchmark. Today the typical man marries when he is 29 years old. That is six years older than the historic low in 1956, but only three years older compared with 1890. The pattern for women is similar.

Age at marriage has risen in tandem with life expectancy

By itself, the rising age at marriage toward the end of the 20th century looks startling. Since 1975 it has risen 6 years for men and women. Nonetheless this increase should not be surprising. Because we are living longer, we should expect to be marrying at older ages.

In 1890 the average lifespan for men was just 43 years, but they did not marry until 26 (Figure 2). In other words, they did not marry for the first time until well over half way through their lifetime (Figure 2). Today, men can expect to live to 76, yet they marry at 29, about one third of the way through their lifetime (Figure 2).

Marrying older, but sooner? Graph showing men's first age at marriage from 1890-2010.If the proportion had remained at the same level as in 1890, men would not marry until they were 46 years old — 17 years later than they do today. Women would not marry until they were 40 (Figure 3).

Marrying older, but sooner? Graph showing women's age at first marriage from 1890-2010.Viewed in this light, the gains to life expectancy during the 20th century dwarf increases in the age at marriage. What is more, calling the rising age at marriage a delay ignores life expectancy, which is not accounted for when we compare ages in absolute terms. Thus despite marrying at older ages, Americans are actually marrying sooner in their lifetime than they did a century ago.

For more information, visit estimated median age at marriage and the Census working paper on historical marriage trends.

Posted in Families, Marriage | Tagged , , | 8 Comments