Foreign-Born Census Rises 57 Percent Since 1990

Jun 06, 2002

The foreign-born population of the United States numbered 31.1 million in 2000, according to recently released Census 2000 results. The population represents a 57 percent increase compared to 1990, and a continuation of an upward trend that began in the 1970s.

In 2000, 51.7 percent of the foreign-born population were from Latin America, 26.4 percent from Asia and 15.8 percent from Europe. Together, Latin America and Asia accounted for 78.2 percent of the foreign-born population, up from 28.3 percent in 1970.

“Along with this major change in the geographic origins of the foreign-born, we’ve seen a major change in their settlement pattern within the United States,” says Census Bureau demographer Campbell Gibson. The proportion of the foreign-born living in the West and the South rose from 37.7 percent in 1970 to 65.5 percent in 2000.

The rise in the foreign-born population brought with it a sharp increase in the number of people aged five years and older in the United States who spoke a language other than English at home: 47.0 million in 2000, up from 31.8 million in 1990. Of these, 21.3 million spoke English less than “very well,” up from 14.0 million in 1990. Among the population aged five and older in 2000 who spoke a language other than English at home, 59.9 percent spoke Spanish, up from 54.5 percent in 1990.

Moderator Comment: How will (is) the increase in foreign-born
consumers influencing the CPG and retailing industries? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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