NC in Focus: North Carolina-born Hispanics

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

North Carolina’s Hispanic population grew from fewer than 77,000 residents in 1990 to nearly 867,000 in 2013. Between 1990 and 2010, the majority of population growth was due to net migration. As a consequence, the most common birthplace for North Carolina Hispanics was Mexico. In 2000, nearly half (47.4%) of North Carolina’s Hispanic residents were Mexican-born.

As the Hispanic population settled in the state, births, as well as migration, have fueled North Carolina’s Hispanic population growth. Since 2000, the size and share of the Hispanic population born in North Carolina has increased steadily. In 2000, fewer than 61,000 or 16% of the state’s Hispanic population had been born in North Carolina. This proportion nearly doubled to 31% in 2013, and the size of the North Carolina-born Hispanic population increased by 340% between 2000 and 2013 to reach nearly 267,000 individuals.

The 2013 American Community Survey estimates indicate that 2013 was the first time that North Carolina-born Hispanics have outnumbered Mexican-born Hispanic residents since the current wave of immigration began. In 2013, there were about 21,000 more North Carolina-born Hispanics than those born in Mexico.NC Born Hispanics Outnumber those Born in Mexico

The growth of the North Carolina-born Hispanic population is driven by children born to Hispanic migrants that arrived earlier in the decade. The average age of the two populations reflects the different demographic forces – fertility vs. migration – on these populations. On average, North Carolina-born Hispanics were 9 years old in 2013. This was 25 years younger than the average age of Mexican-born Hispanics living in the state (34).

More about North Carolina’s Hispanic population:

About Rebecca Tippett

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