Hispanic Student Enrollments Reach New Highs in 2011
The nation’s Hispanic 1 student population reached a number of milestones in 2011, according to an analysis of newly available U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.
For the first time, the number of 18- to 24-year-old Hispanics enrolled in college exceeded 2 million and reached a record 16.5% share of all college enrollments. 2 Hispanics are the largest minority group on the nation’s college campuses, a milestone first achieved last year (Fry, 2011). But as their growth among all college-age students continues to outpace other groups, Hispanics are now, for the first time, the largest minority group among the nation’s four-year college and university students. And for the first time, Hispanics made up one-quarter (25.2%) of 18- to 24-year-old students enrolled in two-year colleges.
- In the nation’s public schools, Hispanics also reached new milestones. For the first time, one-in-four (24.7%) public elementary school students were Hispanic, following similar milestones reached recently by Hispanics among public kindergarten students (in 2007) and public nursery school students (in 2006). Among all pre-K through 12th grade public school students, a record 23.9% were Hispanic in 2011.
- The new milestones reflect a number of continuing upward trends. Between 1972 and 2011, the Latino share of 18- to 24-year-old college students steadily grew—rising from 2.9% to 16.5%. During the same period, among all public school students, the Latino share grew from 6.0% to 23.9%. In both cases, rapid Latino population growth has played a role in driving Latino student enrollment gains over the past four decades.
- Today, with the high school completion rate among young Hispanics at a new high, more young Hispanics than ever are eligible to attend college. According to the Pew Hispanic analysis, 76.3% of all Hispanics ages 18 to 24 had a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) degree in 2011, up from 72.8% in 2010. And among these high school completers, a record share—nearly half (45.6%)—is enrolled in two-year or four-year colleges. Both demographic trends and greater eligibility have contributed to growth in the number of Hispanic young people enrolled in college in recent years.
- Latinos are a growing share of all degree recipients—13.2% among those with an associate degree and 8.5% among those who received a bachelor’s degree in 2010. Despite these gains, the Latino share among degree recipients significantly lagged their share among 18- to 24-year-old students enrolled in two-year colleges (21.7%) and four-year colleges and universities (11.7%) in 2010.
- Hispanics are the nation’s largest minority group, making up more than 50 million people, or about 16.5% of the U.S. population. Among the 30 million young people ages 18 to 24, 6 million, or 20%, are Hispanics.