A total of 1.3 million Hispanics of Dominican origin resided in the United States in 2008, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Dominicans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Dominican origin; this means either they themselves are Dominican immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to the Dominican Republic. Dominicans are the fifth-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 2.8% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2008. Mexicans constituted 30.7 million, or 65.7%, of the Hispanic population.1

This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Dominican population with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on Pew Hispanic Center tabulations of the 2008 American Community Survey. Key facts include:

  • Immigration status. Nearly six-in-ten of Dominicans (57.3%) in the United States are foreign born, compared with 38.1% of Hispanics and 12.5% of the U.S. population overall. Most immigrants from the Dominican Republic (57.0%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. Nearly half of Dominican immigrants (47.4%) are U.S. citizens.
  • Language. A majority of Dominicans (53.4%) speak English proficiently.2 Some 46.6% of Dominicans ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 37.3% of all Hispanics.
  • Age. Dominicans are younger than the U.S. population and older than Hispanics overall. The median age of Dominicans is 29; the median
  • Marital status. Dominicans are less likely than Hispanics overall to be married—38.7% versus 46.5%.
  • Fertility. Half (52.0%) of Dominican women ages 15 to 44 who gave birth in the 12 months prior to the survey were unmarried. That was greater than the rate for all Hispanic women—38.8%—and the rate for U.S. women—34.5%.
  • Regional dispersion. Eight-in-ten Dominicans (79.4%) live in the Northeast, and half (50.6%) live in New York.
  • Educational attainment. Dominicans have slightly higher levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Sixteen percent of Dominicans ages 25 and older—compared with 12.9% of all U.S. Hispanics—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Income. The median annual personal earnings for Dominicans ages 16 and older were $20,571 in 2008; the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics were $21,488.
  • Poverty status. The share of Dominicans who live in poverty, 23.2%, is nearly double the rate for the general U.S. population (12.7%) and higher than the 20.7% share among all Hispanics.
  • Health Insurance. One-quarter of Dominicans (23.4%) do not have health insurance compared with 31.7% of all Hispanics and 15.4% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 12.5% of Dominicans younger than 18 are uninsured.
  • Homeownership. The rate of Dominican homeownership (28.3%) is lower than the rate for all Hispanics (49.1%) and the U.S. population (66.6%) as a whole.

About the Data

This statistical profile of Hispanics of Dominican origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of about 3 million addresses. The data used for this statistical profile come from 2008 ACS Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), representing a 1% sample of the U.S. population.

Like any survey, estimates from the ACS are subject to sampling error and (potentially) measurement error. Information on the ACS sampling strategy and associated error is available at www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/accuracy2008.pdf. An example of measurement error is that citizenship rates for the foreign born are estimated to be overstated in the Decennial Census and other official surveys, such as the ACS (see Jeffrey Passel. “Growing Share of Immigrants Choosing Naturalization,” Pew Hispanic Center, Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2008)). Finally, estimates from the ACS may differ from the Decennial Census or other Census Bureau surveys due to differences in methodology and data collection procedures (see, for example, http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/Report10.pdf and http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACS/ASA_nelson.pdf).