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Hispanic/Latinos in Wisconsin: Overview

The term Hispanic or Latino refers to persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.1  On this website, these populations will be termed Hispanic/Latino.

According to the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau population estimate, there are almost 53 million Hispanics/Latinos living in the United States.2 This group represents 16.9 percent of the total U.S. population.3 In 2012, 33.2 percent of Hispanics/Latinos were under the age of 18, in comparison to 19.7 percent of non-Hispanic Whites.4 Among Hispanics/Latinos, Mexicans are the largest subgroup, at 64.3 percent.5 According to a 2007 Census Bureau report, 64 percent of Hispanics/Latinos, in comparison to 92 percent of non-Hispanic Whites, have a high school diploma.6 Additionally, only 13.8 percent of Hispanics/Latinos (compared with 32.5 percent of non-Hispanic Whites) have a bachelor's degree or higher.7

Hispanics/Latinos have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the United States.8 In 2007, 32.1 percent of the Hispanic/Latino population was not covered by health insurance, compared with 10.4 percent of the non-Hispanic White population.9 Hispanic/Latino health is often shaped by factors such as language and cultural barriers, lack of access to preventive care, and the lack of health insurance.10

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that leading causes of illness and death among Hispanics/Latinos include heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries (accidents), stroke, and diabetes.11 Other health conditions and risk factors that significantly affect Hispanics/Latinos are: asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, HIV/AIDS, obesity, suicide, and liver disease.12 However, there are also disparities among Hispanic/Latino subgroups. For instance, while the rate of low birthweight infants is lower for the total Hispanic/Latino population in comparison to non-Hispanic Whites, Puerto Ricans have a low birthweight rate twice that of non-Hispanic Whites.13 Puerto Ricans also suffer disproportionately from asthma, HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality.14 Mexican-Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes.15

Wisconsin Population

Hispanics/Latinos are the second largest and fastest growing minority racial and ethnic population in Wisconsin.16 As of 2008, this group constituted 5 percent of the population, totaling 285,801 people.17 This population has increased 46.8% since the 2000 Census.18

As of 2008, two-thirds of Wisconsin's Hispanic/Latino population was concentrated in Milwaukee, Dane, Racine, Kenosha, and Brown counties.19 However, this population is rapidly growing in other areas of Wisconsin. Milwaukee County is home to 112,931 Hispanics/Latinos, comprising 39.5 percent of Wisconsin's Hispanic/Latino population.20 Wisconsin's Hispanic/Latino population is relatively young, with a median age of 24.8 years in 2008, compared to 38.2 years for the total state population.21 Thirty-nine percent are under age 18, compared to 23 percent of the total state population.22 Also, while 13 percent of Wisconsin's total population was age 65 and older, only 4 percent of the Hispanic/Latino population was 65 and older.23


Health Facts

Additional Information


  1. The Health of Racial and Ethnic Populations of Wisconsin: 2001-2005.
  2. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007.
  3. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Income, Poverty and Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid.
  16. The Health of Racial and Ethnic Populations of Wisconsin: 2001-2005.
  17. Minority Health Profile 2008.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Ibid.

Additional Information about Hispanic/Latinos in Wisconsin

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Last revised March 24, 2022