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Health Information

US Latino Health Facts

Socioeconomic Status
  • Latinos comprise more than 15% of the US population.1
  • Latinos appear to have higher life expectancies than non‐Latino Whites, yet most of this advantage is attributable to superior health.2
  • The high rate of population expansion among Latinos is primarily attributable to fertility and secondarily to immigration.1
  • It is expected that the Latino population will nearly triple from 2008 to 2050 when Latinos will represent 30% of the U.S. population.3
  • Currently, almost two‐thirds of the US Latino population is of Mexican origin.1
  • Latinos are very young, with more than 11 million children 12 years of age or younger; US‐born Latino children outnumber foreign‐born Latino children 10 to 1.1
  • 58% of Latinos 25 years of age and older had at least a high school education in 2004. 12% held a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2004.4
  • Most Latino immigrants are middle‐aged (35 years of age) or older.1
  • More Latinos were living below the poverty line (22%) in 2006 compared to non‐Latino Whites (10%).4
  • Rates of children residing in high vulnerability areas in the US are currently: Whites 1.7%, Blacks, 20.3%, Latinos 25.3%.5
Disease and Death Disparities
  • According to research from AHRQ (Agency for Health Research and Quality),6 compared to Whites, for US Latinos: o Only one‐third received pneumococcal vaccine (vs nearly two thirds for Whites) o 37% were screened for colorectal cancer (vs 58% for Whites) o Only 62% were screened for breast cancer (vs 76% for Whites) o Only 9% received adequate treatment of mood, anxiety or impulse disorders (vs 33% for Whites)
  • In 2006, 33.3 Latino deaths per 100,000 were attributable to diabetes compared to 24.6 deaths per 100,000 in the general population.1
  • In 2005, Latinos had homicide rates of 7.5 per 100,000, compared to 2.7 per 100,000 for non‐Latino Whites.1
  • Work‐related death disparities between Latinos and all workers persist. In 2006, rates of death for Latinos were 5.0 per 100,000 compared to 4.0 per 100,000 for all workers. 1
  • The current death rate of HIV for Latinos is 4.7 per 100,000, compared to 1.8 per 100,000 for non‐Latino Whites.7
  • In 2005, 13.9 Latino deaths per 100,000 were attributable to liver disease compared to 9 per 100,000 in the general population.8

1. Vega, William et al. Health Disparities in the Latino Population. Epidemiologic Reviews August 2009.
2. Smith DP, Bradshaw BS. Rethinking the Hispanic paradox: death rates and life expectancy for US non‐Hispanic white and Hispanic populations. Am J Public Health. 2006; 96 (9): 1686‐1692.
3. Population projections.‐Release/www/releases/archives/population/012496.html. August 14, 2008.
4. Ramirez RR. We the People: Hispanics in the United States. (Census 2000 special report). Washington, DC: Bureau of the Census, US Department of Commerce; 2004.
5. IOM (Institute of Medicine). 2009. Focusing on children’s health: Community approaches to addressing health disparities: Workshop summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
6. AHRQ. 2008. "National Healthcare Disparities Report." Washington DC: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
7. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2008, With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2008.
8. National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2007, With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2007: 195.

Support for this program was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ® Princeton, New Jersey