North Carolina’s Hispanic population is now greater than one million people, according to a newly released report by UNC-Chapel Hill.
What’s more, over the past decade, the influx of Hispanic/Latinx newcomers to the Tar Heel State surpassed that of any racial or ethnic group, according to Carolina Demography, which is part of the Carolina Population Center at UNC-CH.
Statewide, the Latinx population of 1,118,596 grew by 40 percent between 2010 and 2020. By comparison, the group’s population increased by 23 percent nationwide, according to the report made public this week. The state’s population is expected to reach 1.8 million by 2040.
The median age of North Carolina’s Hispanic residents is 25. More than 75 percent speak a language other than English at home, and residents of Mexican ancestry—at 54 percent—account for well over half the state’s Hispanic/Latino residents, followed by Puerto Ricans at 11 percent.
The report also found that 17 percent of adults 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while 37 percent are without a high school or general education diploma.
The median household income is $46,933, compared to the national median of $55,658, and 30 percent of Hispanic/Latino children are living in poverty. Nearly 50 percent of Hispanic/Latino families are homeowners.
Meanwhile, 71 percent of Hispanic/Latino residents 16 or older are employed, and a 2016 survey reported that 4,700 are entrepreneurs who account for a nearly three percent share of all of the state’s business owners.
Nearly 55 percent of residents between the ages of 19 and 64 have health insurance. Excluding Medicaid and Medicare, about 53.4 percent of all state residents have health insurance, according to KFF State Health Facts.
The Carolina Demography report relied on information from the 2020 Census, the NC Office of State Budget and Management, a 2019 American Community Survey, and a 2016 Survey of Entrepreneurs.
Hispanic/Latinx residents’ greatest population increases occurred in the state’s two largest counties. Mecklenburg County now has 170,000 Latinx residents, while 128,000 now live in Wake County.
The counties comprise over a quarter of the Hispanic population statewide, according to the report.
Wake and Mecklenburg are followed by Forsyth with 55,000 residents; Guilford, with 52,000, and Durham, with 50,000.
The report also notes that there are 21 North Carolina counties where fewer than 1,000 Hispanic residents live, according to the 2020 Census data.
The report has not gone unnoticed by Hispanic/Latinx advocacy groups like Siembra NC.
“We’re already 1.2 million Latinxs in North Carolina and one of the fastest growing populations in the state,” Siembra officials note on the agency’s website. “When we work in collaboration, we are powerful. Together, podemos!”
Siembra members, and others are also aware of the impact the state’s growing Latinx population may have in voting booths.
“Thanks to our organizing work with Siembra members and partners across the state, we’ve been able to reduce sheriff-ICE collaboration, and registered and mobilized thousands to vote.”
Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.