Segmenting the Hispanic Market A look at Latinos by country of origin

  • February 13 2012

With Hispanics representing one in six Americans in the 2010 census, it’s easy to assume that they are a single, homogeneous group. But nothing could be further from the truth.

People who identify themselves as of Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban origin represent the largest segments of the Hispanic market, but emerging groups from Central and South America were among the fastest growing groups from 2000 to 2010. In fact, the number of Hispanics who identified themselves as Central American or South American more than doubled to over 6.7 million during that decade, while the overall Hispanic population grew 43 percent to 50 million.

The Mexican origin segment is the largest Hispanic group in the U.S., and its population increased by 54 percent from 20.6 million in 2000 to 31.8 in 2010. Mexicans accounted for three quarters of the increase in the Hispanic population from 2000 to 2010.

Puerto Ricans grew 36 percent, increasing from 3.4 million to 4.6 million in 2010. The Cuban origin population increased by 44 percent to 1.8 million in 2010.

Growth rates among other Hispanic segments were even higher. The number of Hispanics who identified themselves as of Dominican origin grew about 85 percent to 1.4 million. Central Americans (other than Mexican) grew 137 percent to 4 million. 2.8 million people said they were of South American origin, an increase of 104 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Breaking down those figures even further, among Central American Hispanics (other than Mexican), those of Salvadoran origin were the largest group at 1.6 million, growing 151 percent during the decade. That total is close to the population of El Salvador’s largest city, San Salvador. Salvadorans were followed by Guatemalans (1 million) and Hondurans (633,000).

Of the South American Hispanic population, those of Colombian origin were the largest group at 909,000, followed by Ecuadorians at 565,000 and Peruvians at 531,000.