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Originally published February 20, 2013 at 8:29 PM | Page modified February 21, 2013 at 9:50 AM

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U.S. Latino population up 47% in 11 years

The Latino population in the U.S. rose 47 percent from 2000 to 2011. By far the largest segment of Latinos are people of Mexican descent, representing about two-thirds of all Latinos.

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PALM BEACH, Fla. — A new national survey shows that the Latino population in the U.S. rose 47 percent from 2000 to 2011.

The Pew Research Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C., a respected demographic-research institute, found that the number of Latinos in the U.S. during those 11 years swelled from 35.2 million to
51.9 million.

The total U.S. population as of 2011 was 311.6 million, meaning that 16.7 percent of people living in the U.S. were Latino, compared with 12.5 percent in 2000.

And that percentage is expected to increase. Of all births in the U.S. in 2011, 23.1 percent were to Latino women.

The 2011 numbers are based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, which surveyed 3 percent of the households in the U.S. and extrapolated total numbers from those interviews.

The households were contacted during 2011 and the numbers were compiled over the past year. The 2000 numbers were based on the census from that year.

The center says its figures include undocumented people. There are thought to be 11 million to 12 million undocumented people in the U.S., 80 percent of whom are Latino.

By far the largest number of Latinos in the U.S. are people of Mexican descent, with 33.5 million, or 64.5 percent of all Latinos.

Many people of Mexican descent come from families that have lived in the U.S. for many generations. Two-thirds of all persons of Mexican descent in the U.S. were born here.

Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens from birth, number
4.9 million; Salvadorans,
1.95 million; Cubans, 1.88 million; and Guatemalans, 1.22 million.

Not only did the number of Latinos and their percentage of the U.S. population increase, but the percentage of Latinos in the U.S. who are U.S.-born rose from 59.9 percent to 63.8 percent.

Latinos have the lowest median age of any population group, 27, compared with 33 for blacks, 36 for Asians and 42 for whites.

The three states with the highest Hispanic populations are California, with 14.4 million; Texas,
9.8 million (both states are
38.1 percent Latino); and Florida, 4.35 million, or 22.8 percent of the state’s population.

Washington ranks 12th, with 760,000 Latinos making up
11 percent of the population.

At least 10 states saw increases in their Latino populations of more than 100 percent since 2000. In the South, Georgia and North Carolina saw large increases and both now have more than 800,000 Latino residents.

The survey shows educational levels of Latinos rose over the 11 years. The high-school dropout rate among Latinos ages 16 to 19 plummeted from 17.5 percent in 2000 to 6.8 percent in 2011. The percentage of Latinos 18 to 24 enrolled in college rose sharply, from 20 to 32.9 percent in the 11 years.

The median income of a Latino household in 2011 was $39,000. That compared with $67,000 for Asian households, $54,400 for whites and $32,600 for blacks.

Thirteen million Latinos live in poverty, 25.9 percent of the total Latino population, and 22 percent receive food stamps.

Only blacks have higher rates in those categories, with 27.9 percent living in poverty and 28 percent receiving food stamps.

Latinos have by far the highest percentage of people without health insurance, 30 percent.

That compares with 10.8 percent for whites, 15.4 percent for Asians and 18.6 percent for blacks.

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