An estimated 707,000 Hispanics of Spanish origin resided in the United States in 2011, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Spaniards in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Spanish origin; this means either they themselves are Spanish immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Spain. Spaniards are the eighth-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 1.4% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2011. Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 33.5 million, or 64.6%, of the Hispanic population in 2011.1

This statistical profile compares the demographic, income and economic characteristics of the Spanish population with the characteristics of all Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on tabulations from the 2011 American Community Survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center. Key facts include:

  • Immigration status. About one-in-ten Spaniards (13%) in the United States are foreign born compared with 36% of Hispanics and 13% of the U.S. population overall. About half of immigrants from Spain (48%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later and about half (47%) are U.S. citizens.
  • Language. About nine-in-ten (93%) Spaniards ages 5 and older speak English proficiently.2 The other 7% of Spaniards report speaking English less than very well, compared with 34% of all Hispanics.
  • Age. Spaniards are younger than the U.S. population but older than Hispanics overall. The median age of Spaniards is 34; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 37 and 27, respectively.
  • Marital status. Spaniards ages 15 and older are about as likely to be married (42%) as Hispanics overall (43%) and less likely than the U.S. population overall (48%).
  • Fertility. About one-in-twenty (6%) Spanish women ages 15 to 44 gave birth in the 12 months prior to this survey. That was somewhat lower than the rate for all Hispanic women—8%—and the same as the overall rate for U.S. women—6%.
  • Regional dispersion. Spaniards are concentrated in the West (51%), mostly in California (23%), and in the South (28%), mostly in Texas (11%) and in Florida (7%).
  • Educational attainment. Spaniards have higher levels of education than the Hispanic population overall and the U.S. population overall. About a third (32%) of Spaniards ages 25 and older—compared with 13% of all U.S. Hispanics and 29% among the U.S. population—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Income. The median annual personal earnings for Spaniards ages 16 and older were $29,300 in the year prior to the survey, higher than the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics ($20,000); the median earnings for the U.S. population were $29,000.
  • Poverty status. The share of Spaniards who live in poverty, 14%, is lower than the rate for the general U.S. population (16%) and the rate for Hispanics overall (26%).
  • Health Insurance. Some 15% of Spaniards do not have health insurance compared with 30% of all Hispanics and 15% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 7% of Spaniards younger than 18 are uninsured.
  • Homeownership. The rate of Spanish homeownership (59%) is higher than the rate for all Hispanics (46%) and lower than the 65% rate for the U.S. population as a whole.

About the Data

This statistical profile of Hispanics of Spanish origin is based on the Census Bureau’s 2011 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 2011 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 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, 2007)). 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,, and

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