Health United States 2020-2021

Hispanic origin

Hispanic or Latino origin includes people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American, Dominican, and other or unknown Latin American or Spanish origin. People of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

Birth file

Information about the Hispanic origin of the mother and father is provided by the mother at the time of birth and is recorded on the birth certificate. The reporting area for a Hispanic-origin item on the birth certificate was expanded between 1980 and 1993 (when the Hispanic item was included on the birth certificate in all states and the District of Columbia [D.C.]). Trend data on births for Hispanic and non-Hispanic mothers in Health, United States are affected by expansion of the reporting areas, which affects numbers of events, composition of the Hispanic population, and maternal and infant health characteristics.

In 1980 and 1981, information on births for Hispanic mothers was reported on the birth certificate by the following 22 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. In 1982, Tennessee, and in 1983, D.C. began reporting this information. For 1983–1987, information on births for Hispanic mothers was available for 23 states and D.C. In 1988, this information became available for Alabama, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, and Washington, increasing the number of states reporting information on births for Hispanic mothers to 30 states and D.C. In 1989, this information became available from an additional 17 states, increasing the number of Hispanic-reporting states to 47 and D.C. In 1989, only Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma did not report Hispanic origin of mother on the birth certificate. With the inclusion of Louisiana and Oklahoma in 1990 as Hispanic-reporting states, 99% of birth records included information on mother’s origin. Hispanic origin of the mother was reported on the birth certificates of 49 states and D.C. in 1991 and 1992; only New Hampshire did not provide this information. Starting in 1993, Hispanic origin of mother is reported by all 50 states and D.C.

Starting with 2003 data, some states began using the 2003 revision of the U.S. Standard Certificate of Live Birth. As of 2016, all states, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands have implemented the revised birth certificate of 2003. Race and Hispanic origin are collected separately on the birth certificate. The Hispanic-origin question on the 2003 revision of the birth certificate asks respondents to select only one response. Occasionally, more than one Hispanic-origin response is given, that is, a specified Hispanic-origin group (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Central and South American) in combination with one or more other specified Hispanic-origin groups. Before 2018, people of Dominican origin were included in the “other” Hispanic-origin group. Starting with 2018 data, Dominican is also a specified Hispanic-origin group, and 32,072 women identified themselves as Dominican. From 2003 through 2012, respondents who selected more than one Hispanic origin on the birth certificate were classified as other Hispanic. In 2012, 0.4% of births in the revised state-reporting area, plus Massachusetts (an unrevised state that also reported more than one Hispanic-origin response), were to women reporting more than one Hispanic origin. Beginning with 2013 data, respondents who select more than one Hispanic origin are randomly assigned to a single Hispanic origin. The number of births to “other and unknown Hispanic” women increased steadily from 48,972 in 2003 to 146,849 in 2017. The numbers for this group declined from 2017 to 2018 (115,792) because of the addition of the Dominican group. Factors that may have influenced the recent increase are not clear but may include less specificity in respondent reporting of Hispanic origin and increases in the populations of groups included in the “other Hispanic” category. The Hispanic-origin question on the 1989 revision of the birth certificate also offered the opportunity to report more than one origin; however, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) processing guidelines for unrevised data allowed for coding only the first Hispanic origin listed.

Mortality file

The reporting area for a Hispanic-origin item on the death certificate was expanded between 1985 and 1997. In 1985, mortality data by Hispanic origin of decedent were based on deaths of residents in the following 17 states and D.C. whose data on the death certificate were in a comparable format and at least 90% complete for place of occurrence: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. In 1986, New Jersey began reporting Hispanic origin of decedent, increasing the number of reporting states to 18 and D.C. in 1986 and 1987. In 1988, Alabama, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington were added to the reporting area, increasing the number of states to 26 and D.C. In 1989, 18 more states were added, increasing the Hispanic-reporting area to 44 states and D.C.; only Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Virginia were not included in the reporting area. Starting with 1990 data in Health, United States, the criterion has been changed to include states whose data are at least 80% complete. As a result, the reporting area for Hispanic origin of decedent increased to 47 states and D.C. in 1990 (adding Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut); 48 states and D.C. in 1991 (adding Louisiana); and 49 states and D.C. in 1993–1996 (adding New Hampshire). Only Oklahoma did not provide this information in 1993–1996. Starting in 1997, Hispanic origin of decedent is reported by all 50 states and D.C. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the 1990 reporting area encompassed 99.6% of the U.S. Hispanic population. In 1990, more than 96% of death records included information on Hispanic origin of the decedent.

Starting with 2003 data, some states began using the 2003 revision of the U.S. Standard Certificate of Death, which allows the reporting of more than one race (multiple races) and includes some revisions in the item reporting Hispanic origin. The effect of the 2003 revision of the Hispanic-origin item on the reporting of Hispanic origin on death certificates is presumed to be minor. For more information, see Sources and Definitions, Race. Also see the Technical Notes sections of the annual series of “Deaths: Final Data” reports, available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm; and “NCHS Procedures for Multiple-Race and Hispanic Origin Data: Collection, Coding, Editing, and Transmitting,” available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/Multiple_race_documentation_5-10-04.pdf.

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)

Data on Hispanic origin have been self-reported in NHIS since 1976, and in 1978, race and Hispanic origin were asked for the first time in a two-question format. Over time, the placement and way that both the Hispanic-origin and race questions have been asked has varied considerably. For information on race and Hispanic origin in NHIS, see the survey’s “Race and Hispanic Origin Information” page, available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/rhoi.htm.

Page last reviewed: August 12, 2022