Cancer Among Hispanics In New Jersey

Background Information On Hispanics5-10

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Demography of the Hispanic Population in the United States and New Jersey

In the United States, Hispanics comprise a large and rapidly growing segment of the population. In 1996, there were an estimated 28 million Hispanics in the United States, comprising approximately 11 percent of the United States population. The Hispanic population grew by 53 percent between 1980 and 1990 and by nearly 24 percent between 1990 and 1996. By comparison, the non-Hispanic population grew by 9.1 percent between 1980 and 1990 and 4.5 percent between 1990 and 1996.

In New Jersey, there were an estimated 925,000 Hispanics in 1996, comprising about 12 percent of the population. New Jersey had the seventh highest number of Hispanics in the nation following California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Arizona. The Hispanic population in New Jersey grew by 50 percent between 1980 and 1990 and by 24 percent between 1990 and 1996.

The Age Distribution of the Hispanic Population in New Jersey

The Hispanic population is younger on average than the non-Hispanic population in both New Jersey and the nation as a whole. In 1996, the median age of the Hispanic population in New Jersey was approximately 26, compared to 36 for the total population in the state. Thirty four percent of Hispanics were under age 20 in 1996 compared to 27 percent of non-Hispanics. While 14 percent of non-Hispanics were 65 and older, only 6 percent of Hispanics were in that age group.

Composition of the Hispanic Population in New Jersey and the United States

The most common places of origin of Hispanics in the United States are Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Based on the 1990 Census, the Hispanic population in the United States was about 61 percent Mexican, 12 percent Puerto Rican, and five percent Cuban. The fourth most common Hispanic subgroup was Dominican, comprising approximately three percent of United States Hispanics. Nineteen percent are of other Hispanic origin.

However, the distribution of Hispanic subgroups in New Jersey differs from that of the total U.S. The most common Hispanic subgroup in New Jersey is Puerto Rican comprising about 42 percent of the state's Hispanic population, according to the 1990 Census. Twelve percent of New Jersey's Hispanic population was Cuban, seven percent was Dominican and only four percent was Mexican. Eighteen percent were Central American and six percent were South American. Eleven percent are of other Hispanic origin.

Hispanic Population in New Jersey Counties

In 1997, almost half of the state's Hispanic population and 22 percent of the state's total population resided in Hudson, Passaic and Essex counties. Hudson County has over 200,000 Hispanic residents and Passaic and Essex counties each have over 100,000 Hispanic residents. In addition to these three counties, Union, Middlesex, Bergen and Camden counties rank among the nation's top 100 counties in the number of Hispanics.

Economic Status of Hispanics in the United States and New Jersey

In the United States, approximately 22 percent of Hispanic families were living in poverty in 1990 compared with less than 10 percent of non-Hispanic families. The median family income for Hispanics in 1990 was $25,064 compared with $35,225 for all Americans combined. Hispanics are overrepresented in blue-collar jobs, such as the service occupations, farming, machine operators and laborers, and underrepresented in the white-collar managerial, administrative and professional jobs.

In New Jersey, 19 percent of Hispanic families were living in poverty in 1990 compared with eight percent of non-Hispanic families. In 1998, 31 percent of New Jersey Hispanic residents lacked health insurance coverage compared with 18 percent of all New Jersey residents.

Behavioral Risk Factors in the Hispanic Population of New Jersey

According to the 1996-97 NJ Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (NJ BRFSS), the rate of chronic alcohol consumption was the same for NJ Hispanics compared with non-Hispanics in the State. However, in 1998 this survey showed that the percentage of current smokers is higher among Hispanic men than non-Hispanic men, but lower among Hispanic women compared with non-Hispanic women. (Questions on alcohol abuse were not asked in 1998.)

Approximately 77 percent of Hispanic women aged fifty and over had a mammogram to screen for breast cancer within the past two years, slightly more than the same percent for non-Hispanic white (73 percent) and non-Hispanic black (75 percent) women according to the 1997-98 NJ BRFSS. The same survey indicates that approximately 60 percent of Hispanic women had a pap test to screen for cervical cancer within the past two years compared with 67 percent of non-Hispanic white women and 66 percent of non-Hispanic black women. Unfortunately, sample sizes are too small to obtain reliable estimates of use of screening procedures for prostate and colorectal cancer among Hispanics.


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