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Introduction: This study examines demographic and socioeconomic factors of racial/ethnic groups in the United States between 1990 and 20010 – particularly the Mexican origin population.

Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.

Results: This section focuses on the growth of the Mexican population in different Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The top three MSAs in terms of total Mexican population in 2010 were Los Angeles, Riverside, and Houston. While Los Angeles has long been MSA with the largest population, the rates of growth in Riverside and Houston were larger, with the Mexican population more than tripling in Riverside from 1990 to 2010, and nearly tripling in Houston. Chicago, which was ranked fifth in 1990, more than doubled its Mexican population to become the second-ranked MSA in 2000. Growth from 2000 to 2010 in Chicago’s Mexican population slowed by comparison (34%). Similar patterns of rapid growth (more than doubling) between 1990 to 2000 and relatively slower growth (about 50%) in the 2000 to 2010 period occurred in Dallas and Phoenix. In most MSAs, the rate of growth between 2000 and 2010 was indeed lower than that from 1990 to 2000. In two MSAs, McAllen and El Paso, the rate of growth was about equal in these two periods. In San Antonio, the rate of growth of the Mexican population more than doubled from 23% between 1990 and 2000 to 49% between 2000 and 2010.

Discussion: Although Mexicans generally had low to average unemployment rates compared to other racial/ethnic groups, in Riverside the Mexican unemployment rate was among the highest for racial/ethnic groups. Foreign-born Mexicans were must more likely to be high school non-completers than domestic born Mexicans. Domestic-born Mexicans were more than twice as likely to have at least a Bachelor’s degree. In Riverside, Houston, and Los Angeles, Mexicans were about as likely to be uninsured as other Latinos. In Atlanta, Chicago, and New York City, Mexicans were less likely to be insured than other Latinos. In all six MSAs, Mexicans were less likely to be insured than non-Latinos.


For additional information about this collection see

Citation information: Chu, H. (2013). The Mexican-Origin Population in Metropolitan Statistical Areas Across the United States, 1990-2010. New York, NY: Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.



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