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Hispanic Population Up 30% Since 1980

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The nation's Hispanic population grew by 30 percent between 1980 and 1987, a rate of increase five times that of all other racial and ethnic groups combined, according to a new report by the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

The report, which uses new estimating methods designed to produce a more accurate count, also found a sharp rise in the number of school-age Hispanics over the past five years.

The number of such children ages 5 to 19 increased by 14 percent from 1982 to 1987, from 4.69 million to 5.35 million.

According to the study, the number of Hispanic children under age 5 also increased during that period--from 1.70 million to just under 2 million--as did the number of Hispanics in the prime child-bearing years, ages 20 to 29--from 3.13 million to 3.93 million.

The total number of Hispanic Americans reached 18.8 million in 1987, up from 14.6 million counted in the 1980 census.

During the same period, the non-Hispanic population rose from 212 million to 220 million, a 5.8 percent increase.

Central and South Americans have been the fastest-growing subgroup among Hispanics dur4ing the past five years, the study found. The size of that group rose from 1.52 million in 1982 to 2.13 million in 1987, an increase of 40 percent.

The Census Bureau notes that part of the increase in the Hispanic population is attributable to a change in the way the bureau estimates the size of that group. The revised procedure includes an allowance for net undocumented immigration, as well as an increase in the estimate of the number of people who leave the country.

The report also includes findings on the following topics:

Educational attainment. The median number of years of schooling completed by Hispanics 25 years of age or older was 12.0 in 1987, up from 10.8 in 1982. For the total non-Hispanic population in the same age group, the median number of years of schooling was 12.7 in 1987 and 12.6 in 1982.

The proportion of Hispanics age 25 or older who have completed four years of high school increased from 45.4 percent in 1982 to 50.9 percent in 1987. The proportion completing four or more years of college increased by a smaller amount, from 7.7 percent to 8.6 percent.

In 1987, the proportion of Hispanics age 25 or older who had completed fewer than five years of schooling was 11.9 percent, compared with 1.8 percent for non-Hispanics in that age group.

Poverty. The poverty rate for Hispanic families in 1986 was about two-and-a-half times that of non-Hispanic families.

Just under 25 percent of Hispanic families lived below the poverty line last year, compared with 9.9 percent of non-Hispanic families.

The number of impoverished Hispanic families headed by single women increased from 426,000 in 1981 to 528,000 in 1986. But because of the increase in the total Hispanic population, the proportion of such families decreased slightly, from 53.1 percent to 51.2 percent.

Information for the report, "The Hispanic Population in the United States: March 1986 and 1987 (Advance Report)," Series P-20, No. 416, was drawn from the bureau's Current Population Surveys in those months. Copies are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.--tm

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