Hispanics are the youngest major racial or ethnic group in the United States. About one-third, or 17.9 million, of the nation's Hispanic population is younger than 18, and about a quarter, or 14.6 million, of all Hispanics are Millennials (ages 18 to 33 in 2014), according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Altogether, nearly six-in-ten Hispanics are Millennials or younger.
By comparison, half of the black population and 46% of the U.S. Asian population are Millennials or younger. Among whites, the nation's oldest racial group, only about four-in-ten are Millennials or younger (39%).
The nation's Latino population has long been one of its youngest. In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, the median age of Hispanics – 28 years – was well below that of the major racial groups and has been so since at least the 1980s. But as with the nation's population overall, the Hispanic population's median age has steadily risen since the 1980s, from 22 then to 28 in 2014, a significant change though still the smallest increase in median age among any major racial or ethnic group during that time period. For example, the median age among whites was 43 in 2014, up 12 years since 1980. Among Asians, the median age in 2014 was 36, up eight years since 1980. And for blacks, the median age has risen nine years since 1980 to 33 in 2014.
Looked at another way, the share of the Hispanic population under the age of 18 has decreased somewhat since 1980. Back in 1980, 40% of the nation's 14.8 million Latinos were under age 18, while among white non-Hispanics, that share was 26%. In 1990, 35% of the then 21.8 million Latinos living in the U.S. were under 18. That share remained stable through 2000, but had dropped to 32% as of 2014. Meanwhile, among whites, the share under age 18 stood at 19% in 2014.
For the nation's Hispanic population, youth is a defining characteristic. For example, among Hispanic eligible voters, 44% are Millennial Hispanics – the single largest cohort of Hispanic eligible voters. And among the nation's Millennials, Hispanics are a greater share than they are among all American adults – Hispanics make up 21% of all U.S. Millennials versus 15% of all adults in 2014.
Within the Hispanic adult population, Millennials stand out in a number of ways from older Hispanics, according to the Pew Research Center analysis. Millennials are currently much less likely to be immigrants and are more likely to speak English proficiently. They are also more likely than older generations to be of Mexican origin, reflecting the youth of the Mexican-origin population in the U.S.
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Source: Pew Hispanic Research Center, The Nation's Latino Population Is Defined by Its Youth, by Eileen Patten, April 20, 2016.