Diaspora by the Numbers

  • Immigration status. Nearly two-thirds of Salvadorans (63%) in the United States are foreign born, compared with 37% of Hispanics and 13% of the U.S. population overall. Most immigrants from El Salvador (62%) arrived in the U.S. in 1990 or later. Three-in-ten of Salvadoran immigrants (28%) are U.S. citizens.
  • Language. Less than half of Salvadorans (45%) speak English proficiently.3 Some 55% of Salvadorans ages 5 and older report speaking English less than very well, compared with 37% of all Hispanics.
  • Age. Salvadorans are younger than the U.S. population and older than Hispanics overall. The median age of Salvadorans is 29; the median ages of the U.S. population and all Hispanics are 36 and 27, respectively.
  • Marital status. Less than half of Salvadorans (45%) and Hispanics overall (45%) are married.
  • Fertility. More than four-in-ten (44%) of Salvadoran women ages 15 to 44 who gave birth in the 12 months prior to the survey were unmarried. That was higher than the rate for all Hispanic women—40%—and the rate for U.S. women—35%.
  • Regional dispersion. Two-thirds of Salvadorans (35%) live in California, and one-in-seven (15%) live in Texas.
  • Educational attainment. Salvadorans have lower levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Fifty-three percent of Salvadorans ages 25 and older—compared with 39% of all U.S. Hispanics—have not obtained at least a high school diploma.
  • Income. The median annual personal earnings for Salvadorans ages 16 and older were $20,000 in 2009; the median earnings for the U.S. population were $28,900.
  • Poverty status. The share of Salvadorans who live in poverty, 19%, is higher than the rate for the general U.S. population (14%) and below the 23% share among all Hispanics.
  • Health Insurance. Four-in-ten Salvadorans (41%) do not have health insurance compared with 31% of all Hispanics and 15% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 20% of Salvadorans younger than 18 are uninsured.
  • Homeownership. The rate of Salvadoran homeownership (45%) is lower than the rate for all Hispanics (48%) and the U.S. population (66%) as a whole.