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State’s Hispanic population now fifth in nation

Hispanic Heritage Month runs until Oct. 15, and in Illinois, there is plenty of celebration.

The state has, by far, the largest Hispanic and Latino population of any Midwestern state and the fifth-highest in the nation, with about 2.24 million. That trails only California, Texas, Florida, and New York.

Those five states alone comprise 62.8% of the nation’s Hispanic and Latino population. Twelve states have a Hispanic and Latino population of more than 1 million.

By percentage, Illinois ranks 10th in Hispanic and Latino population, with 17.5%, which is actually less than the nation on the whole. The 2020 census reports that 18.5% of United States residents are Hispanic or Latino.

Though the numbers are high, the rate of growth is actually slowing in Illinois. The Hispanic and Latino population rose 15.3% in the state between 2010-2020, down from a 32.5% spike in the previous decade. Hispanic and Latino population soared 69.2% in Illinois in the 1990s.

The overwhelming majority of the Hispanic and Latino population of Illinois is Mexican-American, which numbered just over 1.7 million in the 2020 census, behind only California, Texas, and Arizona. A total of 13.4% of the Illinois population is Mexican-American, the nation’s seventh-highest. Puerto Ricans numbered 182,989 in Illinois in the 2010 census, the eighth-most in the nation.

Not unexpectedly, much of the state’s Hispanic and Latino population is in Chicagoland. Kane County is home to the highest %age in Illinois, with 32.4% in the 2020 census. Cook County is next at 25.6%, followed by Boone (22.8), Lake (22.4), and Kendall (20) counties.

Still, that is far less than some communities in the Chicago collar counties. Cicero has the state’s greatest Hispanic and Latino population at 89.7%, followed by Melrose Park (75.2%), Summit (74.4), Park City (69.4), and Berwyn (64.7).

Downstate, the Quad Cities has one of the highest concentrations of Hispanics and Latinos, as Rock Island County reports 13.2%. Neighboring Whiteside County has 12.3%, while Ogle County lists 10.5%. Seventeen Illinois counties have Hispanic and Latino populations of over 10%.
Illinois has more Hispanics and Latinos than its five neighboring states combined. Indiana has 554,191 of those residents, while Wisconsin numbers 447,290 and Missouri lists 303,068. Just under 216,000 Hispanics and Latinos are found in Iowa, while Kentucky has 207,854.

Nationwide, the Hispanic and Latino population rose 11.6 million between 2010-20, a jump of 23%. Those residents comprised 51.1% of the nation’s growth in total population.

The number of Spanish speakers in the United States is second in the world only to Mexico, and 13% of the US population talks in Spanish at home. Some of those are in the Land of Lincoln.

The Census American Community Survey, conducted from 2007 to 2011, revealed 14 Illinois counties where English is spoken in less than 90% of households. Four of those are outside Chicagoland.

The number of Spanish speakers is reflected in popular culture. One example is television, as Univision and Telemundo ranked ninth and seventeenth, respectively, among the highest-rated channels of 2020.

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