|II. The Demography of the Latino Population
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Elders, 29 American Journal of Law and Medicine 247-267 (2003) (159
The Latino population is the fastest growing population in the United
States, currently representing almost 12% of the total U.S. population.
The Latino population will surpass the African American population by
2005 to become the second largest racial/ethnic group in the United
States, increasing to ninety-eight million individuals by 2050 and
representing approximately one- quarter of the U.S. population.
Yet, as the Latino population increases in number, it also ages.
Currently, there are 1.9 million elderly Latinos representing 5.6% of
the elderly population; by 2050 the Latino population age 65 and older
will comprise 16.4% of the U.S. elderly population. It is important to
note that the Latino population includes different ethnic groups that
share a common language but represent separate and distinct cultures.
Mexican Americans account for 66% of the total Latino population living
in the U.S., followed by South/Central Americans at 14%, Puerto Ricans
at 9%, Other Latinos at 6% and Cubans at 4%. The breakdown is somewhat
different among the elderly Latino population. While Mexican Americans
remain the clear majority, Cubans and Puerto Ricans have a higher
representation. Among Latinos age 65 and older, Mexican Americans
represent 53% of the population, followed by Cubans at 16%,
South/Central Americans at 13% and Puerto Ricans at 10%. Much of what we
know about the health, social and economic status of the Latino
population is based on the experience of Mexican Americans and, to a
much lesser degree, the experience of the other Latino ethnic groups.