An estimated 2.3 million Hispanics of Salvadoran origin resided in the United States in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Salvadorans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Salvadoran origin; this includes immigrants from El Salvador and those who trace their family ancestry to El Salvador.
Salvadorans are the third-largest population (tied with Cubans) of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 4% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2017. Since 2000, the Salvadoran-origin population has increased 225%, growing from 711,000 to 2.3 million over the period. At the same time, the Salvadoran foreign-born population living in the U.S. grew by 142%, from 539,000 in 2000 to 1.3 million in 2017. By comparison, Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 36.6 million, or 62%, of the Hispanic population in 2017.
Salvadoran-origin population in the U.S., 2000-2017
The following key facts compare demographic and economic characteristics of the Salvadoran-origin population in the U.S. with the characteristics of U.S. Hispanics and the U.S. population overall. It is based on Pew Research Center tabulations of the 2017 American Community Survey. Key facts include:
- Among Hispanics in the U.S., about 33% are foreign born, compared with 57% of U.S. Salvadorans.
- About 44% of foreign-born Salvadorans have been in the U.S. for over 20 years, and 33% of foreign-born Salvadorans are U.S. citizens.
- About 16% of U.S. Hispanics ages 25 and older have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 10% of Salvadorans.
- Among Salvadorans ages 25 and older, the U.S. born are more likely than the foreign born to have a bachelor’s degree or higher (24% vs. 8%).
- Among U.S. Hispanics and Salvadorans, the median annual personal earnings for those ages 16 and older was $25,000.
- Looking at full-time, year-round workers, U.S. Hispanics earned more than Salvadorans ($34,000 vs. $30,000).
- The share of U.S. Hispanics who live in poverty (19%) is greater than the share among Salvadorans (17%).
- About 18% of U.S.-born Salvadorans live in poverty, as do 15% of foreign-born Salvadorans.
- The rate of homeownership among U.S. Hispanics is 47%, compared with 43% of Salvadorans.
- Among Salvadorans in the U.S., rates of homeownership are lower for the U.S. born than the foreign born (39% vs. 44%).
Top states of residence
- The Salvadoran population is concentrated in California (32%), Texas (15%) and New York (9%).
- The median age of U.S. Hispanics (29) is similar to that of Salvadorans (30) and lower than the U.S. population (38).
- U.S. Hispanics ages 18 and older about as likely to be married (46%) as Salvadorans (47%).
- Among Salvadorans ages 18 and older, those who are foreign born are more likely to be married than the U.S.-born (54% vs. 26%).
- Some 7% of U.S. Hispanic women ages 15 to 44 gave birth in the 12 months prior to the July 2017 American Community Survey. For Salvadoran women the rate was 6%.
- About 70% of U.S. Hispanics ages 5 and older speak only English at home or speak English at least “very well,” compared with 53% of Salvadorans.
- Similarly, 64% of Hispanic adults are English proficient, as are 44% of Salvadoran adults.
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Other U.S. Hispanic fact sheets
Pew Research Center’s fact sheets on U.S. Latinos and the accompanying blog post examine the Latino population of the United States overall and by its 15 largest origin groups — Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Cubans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Hondurans, Spaniards, Ecuadorians, Peruvians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, Argentines and Panamanians. These sheets provide detailed geographic, demographic and economic characteristics for all Latinos and for each Latino origin group. They are based on Pew Research Center tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010, 2015 and 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2000 U.S. decennial census.
The ACS is the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of more than 3 million addresses. It covers the topics previously covered in the long form of the decennial census. The ACS is designed to provide estimates of the size and characteristics of the resident population, which includes persons living in households and group quarters. For more details about the ACS, including the sampling strategy and associated error, see the 2010, 2015 or 2017 American Community Survey’s Accuracy Statement provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The specific data sources for these fact sheets are the 1% samples of the 2010, 2015 and 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) provided by the University of Minnesota and the 5% sample of the 2000 decennial census. IPUMS assigns uniform codes, to the extent possible, to data collected by the decennial census and the ACS from 1850 to 2017. For more information about IPUMS, including variable definition and sampling error, please visit the “IPUMS Documentation and User Guide.”
Due to differences in the way in which IPUMS and Census Bureau adjust income data and assign poverty status, data provided on these topics might differ from data that are provided by the Census Bureau.
For the purposes of these fact sheets, the foreign born include those persons who identified as naturalized citizens or non-citizens and are living in the 50 states or the District of Columbia. Persons born in Puerto Rico and other outlying territories of the U.S. and who are now living in the 50 states or the District of Columbia are included in the U.S.-born population.