North Carolina’s Hispanic Population: Social Characteristics

Monday, September 15th, through Wednesday, October 15th, marks National Hispanic Heritage Month.

In 2012, there were 845,420 Hispanics living in the state, nearly 9% of the state’s total population. In yesterday’s post, I looked at some of the components of this population’s growth. Today, I’ll look at some social characteristics.

Place of Birth

Just over half (53%) of North Carolina Hispanics were born in the United States or a U.S. territory; 47% were foreign-born. Examining the top birth places reveals two main locations: Mexico and North Carolina. Nearly 270,000 or 32% of North Carolina’s Hispanics were born in Mexico. Another 260,000 or 31% were born in North Carolina. Five other states and territories—New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico—and three Central American countries—El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala—round out the top 10 places of birth.

Top 10 Birth Places of NC Hispanics 2012

The vast majority of the North Carolina-born Hispanics are children. Due to the decline in immigration from Mexico, and the continued importance of births to the state’s Hispanic population growth, North Carolina is soon likely to surpass Mexico as the leading place of birth for North Carolina Hispanics.

Language Spoken

Among Hispanics age 5 and older, 80% spoke Spanish at home while 20% spoke only English. Of those who were Spanish speakers, 47% reported speaking English “very well”, 19% reported speaking English “well”, and 34% reported speaking English “not very well” or not at all.

Marriage & Family

Nearly half (47%) of North Carolina’s Hispanic residents age 15 and older were married in 2012. Nine percent were separated or divorced, 2% were widowed, and 43% had never been married.

The most common living situation for Hispanic individuals in 2012 was a two generation household comprised of one adult generation and one child generation (47%). The second most common was a single generation (adult) household; 35% of the state’s Hispanic residents lived in a single generation household. Fourteen percent of Hispanics lived in a two generation household comprised of adult parents and adult children. Only four percent of Hispanics lived in a multigenerational household (3+ generations) in 2012.

Among Hispanic women age 15 and older, 10% reported having a child in the past year in 2012. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of Hispanic household had children and the average family size was 3.2 individuals.

Source: All data analyzed here are from the 2012 American Community Survey and were retrieved from IPUMS-USA.

About Rebecca Tippett

Rebecca Tippett is Director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center.
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