How Many Latinos were there in New York City According to the 2020 Census?


A New Report from the Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY Compares the Census Bureau’s Numbers with CLACLS Estimates and Finds Significant Differences.



NEW YORK, June 1, 2022—The Graduate Center of The City University of New York’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies (CLACLS) has released a report that examines the Latino population of  New York City using four different 2020 Census Bureau sources and finds that the numbers differ dramatically in each, and are very different from CLACLS estimates.

The report, titled “Estimating the Latino Population in New York City, 2020,” examines four different data sources from the Census Bureau and a CLACLS-developed method for estimating the Latino population of the City. The numbers vary significantly not only because of pandemic-related issues with data collection, but also because of fundamental differences in the definition of Latinos.

One major difference is because the Census Bureau includes Spaniards and excludes Brazilians from their “Hispanic” enumeration. For that reason, CLACLS developed a methodology that takes that variable as a starting point but refines it so that Brazilians are counted, and Spaniards are eliminated. CLACLS defines Latinos as peoples with Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Latin American and Caribbean heritage.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2020 redistricting data, New York City had almost two-and-a-half million Hispanics (2,490,350). The most complete data, the 5-Year American Community Survey from 2016–2020, estimates 2,423,499 Hispanics in the city—and 2,396,411 without Spaniards. CLACLS estimates there were 2,369,742 Latinos in NYC in 2020 including Brazilians.

Why do these numbers matter? One reason is that is well known that there was a population exodus from New York City because of the COVID pandemic. An estimated -3.8% of the City’s population left between April 2020 and July 2021. The CLACLS data on Latinos, and presented in this report, estimates that the Latino population of New York City peaked in 2017 and declined by 3.4% between 2017 and 2020. It is likely that this decline continued through 2021, although precise data are not yet available.

Contact Sebastián Villamizar-Santamaría, Director of Quantitative Research, for a PDF of the report at

About The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

The core mission of CLACLS is to actively support and advance the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the U.S. in the doctoral programs of The Graduate Center, and to provide opportunities for Latino students at the Ph.D. level. CLACLS’s flagship program is the Latino Data Project, established in 2003 by Laird W. Bergad founding and current CLACLS director. Bergad is a distinguished professor in the Department of Latin American, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Lehman College and with the Ph.D. Program in History at The Graduate Center. The Latino Data Project conducts detailed quantitative research on the Latino population of the United States and New York City metropolitan region, analyzing raw data files produced by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies.

About The Graduate Center, CUNY

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY) is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, and initiatives, including its Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.

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