Where do most Hispanics in the USA live?

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Sep 232013
 

A recent study by Pew Research analyzes the geographical distribution of the over 53 million Hispanics who currently live in the USA. The “Hispanic” or “Latino” population is composed of many different segments. It includes families that have lived in the USA for numerous generations as well as recent immigrants from many countries. Mexicans are by far the largest Hispanic origin group. There are 34.7 million Mexicans in the USA accounting for 64% of all Hispanics. A future post will look at the geographic distribution of Mexicans in the USA. Several previous posts, including “Recent trends for Mexicans living in the USA”, have investigated the socio-economic characteristics of Mexicans living in the USA.

Though Hispanics are spreading throughout the country, they still tend to be concentrated in the west, particularly states that border Mexico [see map]. Almost half (46%) of Hispanics live in California (14.4 million) or Texas (9.8). Other states with relatively large Hispanic populations include Florida (3.5m), Illinois (2.1m) and Arizona (1.9m). Almost 47% of New Mexico’s population is Hispanic compared to 38% in both California and Texas.

Map of Hispanic population in USAFully 44% of Hispanics live in only 10 metropolitan areas. Almost half (46%) of the Greater Los Angeles population is Hispanic. The Los Angeles–Long Beach metro area has 5.8 million Hispanics and the neighboring Riverside–San Bernadino metro area has another 2.1 million, giving Greater Los Angeles 7.9 million Hispanics, 15% of the USA total. The New York–Northeastern New Jersey metropolitan area is next with 4.3 million Hispanics. Other metro areas with large Hispanic populations include Houston (2.1m), Chicago (2.0m), Dallas (1.8m), Miami (1.6m), San Francisco–San Jose (1.6), Phoenix (1.2m), San Antonio (1.1m) and San Diego (1.0m).

Over 80% of the Greater Los Angeles Hispanic population is Mexican. Mexicans also dominate the Hispanic populations in Houston (78%), Chicago (79%), Dallas (85%) as well as most other metro areas in the USA. In metro New York, Puerto Ricans are most numerous among Hispanics (28%) followed by Dominicans (21%) and Mexicans (12%). Puerto Ricans are also most numerous in Orlando (51%), Tampa–St Petersburg (34%), Philadelphia (56%), Boston (29%) and Hartford (69%). Cubans dominate the Hispanic population in Miami (55%), Fort Lauderdale (21%) and West Palm Beach (21%). In metro Washington DC, Salvadorians are most numerous among Hispanics (32%).

Roughly one third (36%) of all Hispanics in the USA are foreign-born; the rest were all born in the USA. Miami has the highest proportion of foreign-born Hispanics with 66%. No other metro area with over a million Hispanics has more than 43% foreign-born. On the other hand, only 17% of Hispanics in the San Antonio area are foreign-born with 83% born in the USA.

Source of data:

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Mexico’s position among the most populous countries to 2100

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Aug 122013
 

How does Mexico compare with the world’s most populous countries? Available information suggests that in 1500, before the Spaniards arrived, the population of the area that is now Mexico was roughly 15 to 20 million (McCaa 1997). At that time Mexico may have been the third most populous country behind only China and India. However, by 1600 the population had crashed to about 1.6 million, one of the most dramatic population collapses in human history. Mexico did not regain its pre-Columbian population level until about 1900. But the population declined by about 6% during the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920.

Children in Zitácuaro, Michoacán. Photo: Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

Photo: Tony Burton. All rights reserved.

A recently published UN study, World Population Prospects, The 2012 Revision, enables us to compare Mexico’s population with that of other countries for 1950, 2013, 2050 and 2100. Slow but steady growth brought Mexico’s population up to 28 million by 1950, ranking Mexico 16th just ahead of Spain and right behind the Ukraine. Very rapid growth peaking in the 1970s increased Mexico’s population to about 120 million by 2013. [The UN report quotes Mexico’s 2013 population as 122 million, whereas Mexico’s CONAPO (National Population Commission) estimates the current population is 118.4 million, the difference perhaps due to differing assumptions about international migration.]

This ranked Mexico 11th in the world just behind Japan, but ahead of the Philippines. [The 15 most populous countries in 2013 are China (1,386m), India (1,252m), USA (320m), Indonesia (250m), Brazil (200m), Pakistan (182m), Nigeria (174m), Russia (143m), Japan (127m), Mexico (122m), Philippines (98m), Ethiopia 94m), Vietnam (92m) and Germany (83m)]

By 2020, Mexico will pass Japan to become 10th, the highest it will ever rank except for during the pre-Columbian era.

The UN study forecasts that the Mexican population will grow to 156 million by 2050. This is considerably higher that the Mexico’s National Population Commission (CONAPO) forecast, which uses higher rates of out-migration. In 2050 Mexico will be back in 11th place, having jumped ahead of Russia, but having been passed by Ethiopia and the Philippines. According to the UN study by 2050 India will have passed China, and Nigeria will have replaced the USA as the 3rd most populous.

By 2100 Mexico’s population will be down to 140 million, putting it in 16th place behind Nigeria and five other very rapidly growing African countries: Tanzania, Congo, Uganda, Niger and Kenya. Interestingly, between 2050 and 2100 all of the 31 largest countries are expected to lose population except the USA, the Philippines, and 12 African countries. The world’s total population will have essentially leveled off by 2100 at about 10.9 billion with African countries continuing to grow while European and Asian countries experience population declines. Of course many unexpected demographic changes may occur between now and 2100.

According to the study, Mexico’s life expectancy at birth will be 90.0 years in 2100, above the USA’s level of 88.8 years, but behind Canada at 91.2 years. Mexico’s total fertility rate is forecast by the UN at 1.99 children per women in 2100 which is considerably higher than rates forecast by Mexico’s CONAPO and other demographers.

Reference:

Robert McCaa, Robert. 1997. “The Peopling of Mexico from Origins to Revolution”, preliminary draft for Richard Steckel & Michael Haines (eds.), The Population History of North America, Cambridge University Press, 1997.

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Mexico’s population: now over 117 million and expected to peak at about 138 million

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Feb 282013
 

Mexico’s population in January 2013 was 117.4 million; 57.3 million males (48.8%) and 60.1million (51.2%) females according to a December 10, 2012 report by CONAPO (Consejo Nacional de Población) in Proyecciones de la población de México 2010-2050”. By January 2014 it will grow by over a million to 118.6 million. However demographic trends indicate that population growth in Mexico is declining significantly.

The birth rate is expected to fall from 19.7 births per 1,000 population in 2010 to 14.0 in 2050. As the Mexican population ages the death rate is projected to increase from 5.6 per 1,000 in 2010 to 9.2 in 2050. Consequently the annual rate of natural population growth is expected to decline from 1.41% in 2010 to 0.48% in 2050. Extrapolating the trends from the CONAPO projection suggests that death rates will surpass birth rates sometime in the by 2070s and natural population change will become negative. Of course, we must also take emigration into account.

According to the CONAPO report net emigration from Mexico was 321,000 in 2012, though some have noted that due to the Great Recession net emigration to the USA is near zero or less [Pew Research Center’s “Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero – and Perhaps Less”]. CONAPO expects net emigration to peak at about 689,000 by 2020 and then gradually decline to 590,000 by 2050. Given the current low levels of emigration to the USA and the rapid growth of the Mexican economy, some feel that these levels are rather high.

As a result of trends in birth rates, death rates and emigration, Mexico’s population growth rate is declining. Annual population growth is expected to fall below a million in 2017, below 500,000 in 2032 and below 100,000 by 2049. Extrapolating the rates in the CONAPO projection, Mexico’s population growth is expected to peak in 2053 at 137.6 million and then start to gradually decline. Of course, it is very difficult to accurately project emigration figures. If emigration is a third less than projected by CONAPO, then Mexico’s population could peak at 145 million.

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The spatial distribution of Mexico’s GDP

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Dec 062012
 

Mexico’s National Statistics Agency recently released a breakdown of GDP by state for 2011. The data allow for an analysis of the spatial distribution of Mexico’s GDP. The graph below shows each state’s contribution to GDP (blue bars) and their share of Mexico’s total population (red bars):

Population & GDP by state, 2011

Population & GDP by state, 2011. Data: INEGI. Credit: Tony Burton / Geo-Mexico; all rights reserved

In general, Mexico’s larger states (in terms of population) contribute more towards national GDP than its smaller states. Equally, even after population is taken into account, it is clear that some states contribute far more than others to Mexico’s GDP. The states of Campeche and  Tabasco both stand out as contributing far more than their fair share towards national GDP; this is on account of their oil and gas reserves. The Federal District, Nuevo León, Quintana Roo and Querétaro also outperform in terms of economic output. On the other hand, Michoacán, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero all stand out for contributing less to Mexico’s GDP than the size of their population would suggest.

The economic disparities revealed by the data are closely matched by other indicators of economic disparity such as differences in poverty rates and the distribution of the wealthiest households. For more about these topics, start with the related posts listed below.

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Nov 152012
 

In a previous post, we quoted a press release from the Pew Hispanic Center suggesting that the net migration flow from Mexico to the USA had slowed down to a trickle, and possibly even gone into reverse (ie with more migrants moving from USA to Mexico than in the opposite direction):

We also looked at data related to the vexed question of which Mexicans, if any, may still want to move to the USA:

There are some slight signs now that the net migration flow northwards is on the increase again. According to this press article, the National Statistics Institute (INEGI) has reported that out-migration from Mexico started to rise again in the second quarter of this year.

During the second quarter, international immigration into Mexico was estimated (based on survey evidence) at 14.3 / 10,000 total population, and emigration from Mexico to another country at 41.9 / 10,000, meaning a net migration outflow from Mexico of 27.6 / 10,000.

It seems like the average age of migrants is also slowly rising. For instance, INEGI data suggest that 31% of emigrants were between 30 and 49 years of age during the period from 2006 to 2008, compared to 35% for the 2009-2011 period.

It is still far too early to say whether or not the flow of migrants from Mexico to the USA will become as strong, and involve as many people, as in the 1990s and 2000s, but watch this space.

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Juchitán, Oaxaca: a town of sexual tolerance

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Oct 182012
 

More than half (51.3%) of Mexico’s total population of is female. (There are 94.8 men for every 100 women.) However, with isolated exceptions, Mexico has been a male-dominated society for a long time and the spirit of machismo is still very strong in many parts of the country. There is ample evidence for this. For example, Mexico has never had a female head of state and very few female cabinet members have ever been appointed. There have been very few female candidates for president; they include Cecilia Soto González (1994), Dora Patricia Mercado (2006) and Josefina Vázquez Mora (2012). [Thanks go to Manuel and other alert readers for correcting an earlier version]. In business, male executives earn more than their female counterparts, though the wage differential is much smaller for lower-paid positions.

There are also vast differences across the country in the economic and social well-being of women. Some women, such as billionaire María Asunción Aramburuzabala, have proved that Mexican women can be incredibly successful in business, yet tens of thousands of women face a daily struggle against starvation and violence in the home.

The precise roles of women in Mexican society vary greatly from one region to another. The indigenous Zapotec community of Juchitán in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca is at one extreme. It functions as a matriarchal society where women play a much more important role than men in trading and decision-making.

Juchitán is also possibly the most tolerant place in Mexico in terms of attitudes to the gay and transgender community, especially to transvestite men, locally called muxes (pronounced moo-shays).

A 5-minute video, The Third Gender, produced by Deborah Bonello for GlobalPost, explores the extent to which the residents of Juchitán accept cross-dressing muxes as an integral part of society.

Want to read more?

  • Nicola Ókin Frioli. Princesses in a land of Machos (short essay and outstanding photographs by a highly accomplished photographer)
  • Bennholdt-Thomsen, V. 2005 A matriarchal society in the age of globalization: Juchitán/Southern Mexico.  Paper presented at 2nd World Congress on Matriarchal Studies, San Marcos and Austin, Texas. 2005
  • Isabella Tree. The women of Juchitán (Inside Mexico)
  • Marc Lacey. A Lifestyle Distinct: The Muxe of Mexico (New York Times)

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Aug 302012
 

Veteran blogger Matt Osborne has unearthed a real gem! This 1977 BBC documentary was the tenth episode of The Age of Uncertainty, John Kenneth Galbraith’s history of economic thought. In this episode, Galbraith examines the economics of poverty and inequality.

The section of greatest interest to Geo-Mexico readers is his overview of the changing relationships between land and people in Mexico from precolonial times to the 1970s. [This ten minute segment starts at minute 4:33 of the video].

Galbraith does confuse his Teotihuacanos with his Aztecs, and clearly many things have changed since 1977, but this video is a great and straightforward introduction to the complex issues of land resources and population, suitable as the starting point for many discussions at high school or college level about land clearance, the financing of land improvement, the Green Revolution, population growth and social organization.

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Interactive graph of changes in GDP/person and life expectancy in Mexico since 1800

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Aug 252012
 

Gapminder is a wonderful resource for an overview of all manner of things geographic. The link below will take a few minutes to load, but should then show how Mexico’s GDP/person (on a purchasing power parity basis) and life expectancy have changed since 1800. The size of the yellow circle for each year is proportional to Mexico’s total population, with a scale that can be user-modified at the bottom right of the graph. Hover your mouse over a circle for the year to be identified.

The early figures for GDP/person are unlikely to be very reliable, but once we reach the 20th century, the figures are based on better assumptions and data. After falls in GDP/person and life expectancy in the early stages of the Mexican Revolution (which began in 1910), both variables increased steadily until about 1926. While life expectancy has continued to rise since then, with the occasional dip, GDP/person shows some obvious “blips” such as the early 1950s when it fell quite sharply.

It is interesting to play with the chart and look at how GDP/person and life expectancy have changed for other countries.

To do this:

  1. Select one or more countries by clicking on them [each country is identified when your mouse hovers over it]
  2. Use the slider at the bottom of the chart to select the time period of interest
  3. Sit back and prepare to get engrossed in the world of Gapminder!

Is Mexico experiencing a demographic dividend?

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Jul 232012
 

Mexico’s 2010 population of 112 million makes it the world’s 11th largest country in terms of population. The rate of population increase is now slowing down as fertility rates fall. The rate of increase, which was 2.63%/yr for the period 1970-1990, fell to 1.61%/yr for the period 1990-2010.

Even as the total population continues to grow over the next few decades, some very important changes are underway in Mexico’s population structure.

The graph divides Mexico’s population into three age categories: under 15 (youth), 15-59 (working age) and 60+ (elderly).

Mexico's population structure, 1970-2010

Mexico’s population structure, 1950-2010

The percentage of the total population of youthful age peaked in about 1970 at 46.2% and has since fallen to 29.3% in 2010. Over the same time period, the percentage of working age population has risen from 48.2% to 61.6%, while the percentage of elderly has gone from 5.6% to 9.1%.

Why is this important?

Perhaps the most obvious change is that government spending on schools and services for youth needs to shift towards spending on health care, pensions and services for the elderly. There are already some suburbs of the Mexico City Metropolitan Area that have experienced a dramatic shift in average age. Perhaps the most notable example is the Ciudad Satelite area, an area originally intended to be, and planned as, a genuine satellite settlement. A few decades later, the urban expansion of Mexico City had swallowed it up. An area which once had many young families now has very few children. The homeowners association of Ciudad Satelite estimates that 75% of the area’s 50,000 inhabitants is now elderly.

The major benefit of the changing population structure would appear to be that, in 2010, there are more wage-earners (and tax payers) for every person of non-working age (assumed for simplicity to be youth under 15, and the elderly aged 60+) than at any previous time. In other words, the total dependency rate is lower than ever before.

Economists argue that this “demographic dividend” should raise GDP, and could offer many significant advantages, such as enabling greater government expenditures on infrastructure or on social services. They point to several countries in East Asia as examples where economic growth spurts went hand-in-hand with a period of demographic dividend.

Despite the claims of economists, I’m not convinced that Mexico will prove to be an equally good example of the benefits of a demographic dividend. In Mexico’s case, the early phase of higher youthful population (and considerable economic growth) was accompanied by a high rate of emigration of working age Mexicans to the USA. Admittedly, emigration has now slowed, or stopped.

As Aaron Terrazas and his co-authors point out in Evolving Demographic and Human-Capital Trends in Mexico and Central America and Their Implications for Regional Migration [pdf file],

“But across Latin America, and in sharp contrast to East Asia, favorable demographic change has failed to translate into economic growth and prosperity. National income per capita has increased only modestly since the start of the demographic dividend, with Mexico outperforming its southern neighbors at comparable points in time. And emigration from the region has continued to grow despite the demographic transitions in Mexico and El Salvador, with the United States absorbing between one-fifth and one-quarter of the region’s annual population growth.”

Whether or not Mexico experiences a demographic dividend, it will not last for ever. In Mexico’s case, it looks set to last only about about 20 years. By 2050, according to current predictions, about 26.4% of the Mexico’s population will be youthful, and 27.7% elderly, while the percentage of working age will have fallen to 45.9%.

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A round-up of news items about the Mexican diaspora in the USA

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Jun 162012
 

This is part of an occasional series of updates featuring news items relating to the Mexican diaspora, especially that part of it residing in the USA. Links to previous news round-ups appear at the end of the article.

Sharp drop in number of illegal border crossings

Julian Aguilar, writing for The Texas Tribune, attributes the sharp drop in apprehensions by the US Border Patrol (from about 540,000 in 2009 to 327,500 in 2011) to “a sour economy, increased enforcement by the Border Patrol and skyrocketing smuggling fees” that combine to keep “more would-be crossers at home.”

Undocumented Mexican migrants in the USA

According to a Department of Homeland Security report published in the American media, including The Economic Times, the number of undocumented Mexican migrants in January 2011 stood at 6.8 million, 59% of the total number of undocumented migrants. The total number was around 11.5 million, down slightly from the figure of 11.6 million the year before. The number of undocumented migrants peaked in 2007 at 11.8 million. The report claims that only 14% of all undocumented migrants in January 2011 had entered the USA after 2005. The figure for undocumented migrants includes more than 1 million minors.

The Pew Hispanics Center estimates that 35% of undocumented adults have been in the USA for 15 years or longer.

Mexican migrants: a million more in poverty in just four years, but rich Hispanics get richer
According to a study published by the banking giant BBVA the number of first generation Mexicans living in poverty in the USA rose from 2.6 million in 2007 to 3.5 million in 2011. Nationwide, about 15% of Mexicans live in poverty, according to US statistics, only half the 30% figure for first generation Mexican migrants. The report’s authors blame the economic crisis and steep rises in unemployment.

It was not all doom and gloom in the BBVA report. The report also found that the proportion of Mexican migrants earning less than 30,000 dollars a year fell from 30% in 1997 to 12.6% in 2011, while the proportion of migrants earning more than 40,000 dollars a year rose from only 4.7% to 15%.

Size of the Hispanic market

This ties in nicely with a study by leading market research firm Packaged Facts which found that 8.2 million Hispanic adults live in households with an income of 75,000 dollars or more. The number of “upscale Latino households” doubled between 2000 and 2010. The report estimates that the buying power of these households will reach 680 billion dollars by 2016. Noting that this group accounts for more than two-thirds of all Hispanics who annually spend $1,000 or more online, Packaged Facts suggested that retailers may wish to rethink their marketing strategies and realign advertising campaigns targeting the massive Hispanic market.

According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth, the buying power of minorities in the USA has grown into a diverse and formidable consumer market in the last decade. Jeff Humphreys, director of the Selig Center, in the Selig Center’s annual Multicultural Economy report, writes that, “In 2012, the $1.2 trillion Hispanic market is larger than the entire economies of all but 13 countries in the world.”

First generation Mexican-American children healthier than succeeding generations

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that first generation Mexican-American children are thinner and eat better than subsequent generations. The study conducted by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina looked at 2,300 Mexican-American youth aged 12-19.

Health experts believe that the diet of first generation Mexican-Americans is closer to traditional Mexican cuisine, and is therefore relatively rich in meat, beans, fruit and vegetables. The study found that second-generation Mexican-Americans were 2.5 times as likely to be obese as their first-generation peers; third-generation Mexican-Americans were two times more likely to be obese.

Cultural identity: what’s in a name?

The Pew Hispanic Center (PHC) has published the results of a survey of 1200 Hispanic adults that explores how migrants in the USA see themselves. Entitled “When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity”, the report opens by saying that,

Nearly four decades after the United States government mandated the use of the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” to categorize Americans who trace their roots to Spanish-speaking countries, a new nationwide survey of Hispanic adults finds that these terms still haven’t been fully embraced by Hispanics themselves. A majority (51%) say they most often identify themselves by their family’s country of origin; just 24% say they prefer a pan-ethnic label.

Moreover, by a ratio of more than two-to-one (69% versus 29%), survey respondents say that the more than 50 million Latinos in the U.S. have many different cultures rather than a shared common culture. Respondents do, however, express a strong, shared connection to the Spanish language. More than eight-in-ten (82%) Latino adults say they speak Spanish, and nearly all (95%) say it is important for future generations to continue to do so.”

The PHC report makes many interesting points about migrants’ cultural identity, race, language and core values.

About half (47%) of all Hispanics say they consider themselves to be very different from the typical American. Only 21% say they use the term “American” most often to describe their identity. However, regardless of where they were born, large majorities of Latinos say that life in the USA is better than in their family’s country of origin and 87% say it is important for immigrant Hispanics to learn English in order to succeed.

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