Population Research and Policy Review 21: 109–128, 2002.
© 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
The Hispanic population: 1990–2000 growth and change
U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, USA
EILEEN DIAZ McCONNELL
Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
Abstract. Data sources indicate that there were signiﬁcant changes in the Hispanic population
between 1990 and 2000. Using short-form data from the 1990 and 2000 censuses, we explore
changes in the size and distribution of the Latino population. The most important shifts in the
Hispanic population are the continued increase of the Latino population in the United States,
the signiﬁcant growth of Hispanic population who identify as ‘other’ Latino, and the growing
importance of the Midwest and South as popular receiving areas for Latinos. Additionally, our
comparison of household composition over the ten-year period shows little change. We offer
potential explanations, both substantive and methodological, for these important transitions in
the Latino population over the decade.
Keywords: Census, Hispanic, Latino
Numerous data sources suggest that there were signiﬁcant changes in the
Hispanic population between 1990 and 2000.
First, Census 2000 results
indicate that the Latino population grew 57.9 percent from 1990 to 2000,
and now comprise 12.5 percent of the U.S. population (Guzmán 2001). The
proportion of Hispanics that claimed Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban origin
grew by 52.9 percent, 24.9 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively, over the ten
year period. Most strikingly, census data show that the proportion of Latinos
who reported that they were some ‘other’ Hispanic origin and not Mexican,
Puerto Rican, or Cuban, increased by 96.9 percent between 1990 and 2000
Second, native and foreign-born Latinos appear to have become more dif-
fuse in their geographic distributions in recent years, as some have moved
away from the Southwestern United States to other regions of the country
(Aponte & Siles 1994, Charvat-Burke & Goudy 1999, Gouveia & Stull 1997,
Passel & Zimmerman 2000). Indeed, Census 2000 data indicate that every
region in the United States experienced large Latino population growth over