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Component ID: #ti1454162742

About Hispanic Origin

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires federal agencies to use a minimum of two ethnicities in collecting and reporting data: Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino. OMB defines "Hispanic or Latino" as a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.

People who identify with the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the decennial census questionnaire and various Census Bureau survey questionnaires – “Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano” or ”Puerto Rican” or “Cuban” – as well as those who indicate that they are “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”

The 2010 Census question on Hispanic origin included five separate response categories and one area where respondents could write in a specific Hispanic origin group. The first response category was intended for respondents who do not identify as Hispanic. The remaining response categories (“Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano”; “Puerto Rican”; “Cuban”; and “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin”) and write-in answers can be combined to create the OMB category of Hispanic.

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Products by Hispanic Origin and Race

U.S. federal government agencies must adhere to standards issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which specify that race and Hispanic origin (also known as ethnicity) are two separate and distinct concepts. These standards generally reflect a social definition of race and ethnicity recognized in this country, and they do not conform to any biological, anthropological, or genetic criteria. The standards include two minimum categories for data on ethnicity: "Hispanic or Latino" and "Not Hispanic or Latino."  Persons who report themselves as Hispanic can be of any race and are identified as such in our data tables. The following sources provide population data on Hispanic origin and race:

  • Population estimates by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin are produced annually for the nation, states, and counties. Historical data are also provided in the Archive Files. Population projections out to 2060 are provided by race and Hispanic origin for the nation.
  • The Current Population Survey (CPS) provides national-level data on the social, economic, and demographic characteristics of selected race groups, both current and past. Tables on the Hispanic population in the United States are also available, both current and past.
  • The American Community Survey (ACS) provides sample data from the 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year estimates based on population size. Selected Population Profiles enable you to select characteristics by Race or Ethnic Groups (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc.) and by Country of Birth.
  • Data on race and the Hispanic population from the 2010, 2000, and 1990 decennial censuses also are available. Data can be accessed for the 2010 and 2000 Censuses using American FactFinder.
  • The 2010 Census brief Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin describes these concepts and also provides information on how the race categories used in the 2010 Census were defined.

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Data on Hispanic Subgroups Other Than Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban

The American Community Survey (ACS) has data on these groups. In the survey questionnaire, the Hispanic-origin question obtained write-in responses of Hispanic subgroups other than the major groups of Mexican, Cuban, and Puerto Ricans. Persons with other Hispanic origins (e.g.,Salvadoran, Nicaraguan, Argentinean) were able to write in their specific origin group. The Census Bureau's code list contains over 30 Hispanic or Latino subgroups.

You can access the American Community Survey 1-year estimates for a population of 65,000 or more, 3-year estimates for a population of 20,000 or more, and 5-year estimates in American Factfinder. Data on these groups are available in the Detailed Tables, the Subject Tables, and the Selected Population Profiles.

This is the same approach we use in the decennial census. For the 2010 Census, Summary File 2 [PDF 4.5 MB] allows users to access any table in the files for a particular Hispanic subgroup, provided the group meets certain population criteria for the geographic area under consideration. At present, census data provide information on geographic areas smaller than those reported in the ACS.

Race and Ethnicity Research

The Census Bureau has a long history of conducting research to improve questions and data on race and ethnicity. Since the 1970s, the Census Bureau has conducted content tests to research and improve the design and function of different questions, including questions on race and ethnicity.

For the latest information on Race and Ethnicity Research visit:

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Contact Us

For assistance, please contact the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov for further information.

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