Young Latinos now make up the second-largest ethnic group enrolled at U.S. colleges, surpassing African-Americans for the first time, a new analysis of census data shows.
The Pew Hispanic Center analyzed data from the 2010 census and found that the number of Latino college students ages 18 to 24 rose by 24 percent in one year, to 1.8 million. In that same age group, the federal Current Population Survey found 7.7 million white college students, 1.7 million Black students and 800,000 Asian students.
The large increase in college-enrolled Latinos was only found among that certain range of young people. The analysis showed that when older students are counted, Black students still outnumber Latinos in the overall college population. Also, young adult Black students still outnumber Latinos on four-year campuses. By contrast, Latino students are more likely to enroll at two-year community colleges.
“This is a growing population, but it’s more than that,” said Richard Fry, a senior research associate at Pew. “This is a growing population that is increasingly finishing high school and increasingly going to college.…There’s a good message here."
The report also shows that Latino students are not only enrolling in college at record numbers, but succeeding in U.S. schools overall at levels previously unseen. The number of young Hispanics completing high school hit 73 percent in 2010, up from 60 percent in 2000 and the number of young Hispanics attending college reached 32 percent last year, up from 22 percent in 2000.
Although, overall, Black students are succeeding in high school and college at higher rates, the Black population is not rising at the same pace as the Latino population.