How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Report: A snapshot of US Latinos today, by the numbers

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The role of the nation's largest ethnic group within the U.S. population is evolving, and the Pew Hispanic Center has released the statistics - and charts - to back that up.

Today Pew released a statistical portrait of Latinos in the United States. It's a population that, while no longer accounting for the nation's fastest-growing immigrant group (this distinction now goes to Asian Americans), plays a critical role in what the nation's future population will look like, sound like, vote like and more.

The most notable shift in this population is that in a decade, it has become increasingly native-born: Between 2000 and 2011, as the report details, the number of Latinos born in the United States grew by close to 60 percent.

The foreign-born population grew also, but not by nearly as much. Today, native-born U.S. citizen Latinos make up close to 64 percent of the total Latino population in the country, while foreign-born immigrants from Latin America make up roughly 36 percent.

The Latino population now stands at close to 17 percent of the nation's total, the report says. Here are highlights more from Pew's snapshot of the state of U.S. Latinos today:

- While the majority of Latinos still identify as "white" on census forms, more are self-identifying as "some other race." Latinos are more likely than the general population to describe themselves as belonging to two or more races.

- In 2011, the majority (64.6 percent) of Latinos in the U.S. were of Mexican ancestry; those of Puerto Rican ancestry followed a distant second.

- Most Latinos of Mexican ancestry, however, aren't foreign born. Only 34.7 percent of people with Mexican roots in the U.S. are foreign-born; South and Central American groups have a much higher percentage of foreign-born members, the highest being Venezuelans (68.6).

- Latinos are by far the youngest Americans with a median age of 27. Black and Asian Americans have median ages, respectively, of 33 and 36; non-Latino whites have a median age of 42. The largest age cohort of Latinos: Ages 5 to 9, followed by teenagers.

- While fertility rates are higher for foreign-born Latinas, that for native-born Latinas is much lower, close to that of black and Asian American women.

- The Latino population of California remains the nation's largest at 37, 691, 912 in 2011, followed by those in Texas and Florida. However, the rate of growth in these states' Latino populations is dwarfed by that in non-traditional states such as Arkansas and South Carolina, whose Latino populations grew, respectively, by 123 percent and 154.5 percent between 2000 and 2011.

- While there is still room for improvement, the educational attainment of Latinos in the U.S. is on the rise. Compared with a decade ago, Latinos' high school dropout rate has declined by more than half; other groups have seen similar declines. Meanwhile, the college enrollment rate for  native-born and foreign-born Latinos has gone up.

- At the same time, Latinos' personal earnings are lower than that of other groups: in 2011, only 14.5 percent of Latinos in general earned more than $50,000 a year. Even native-born Latinos lagged behind other groups in this income bracket.

There are many other details in the report, including marriage statistics, data on languages spoken at home and more. You can see the full set of charts here.

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