The Hispanic population of the United States increased sixfold between 1970 and 2012 to more than 53 million, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

In the report released Wednesday, Pew analyzed Census data and found that California's Los Angeles County, with 4.76 million Hispanics, is home to almost 9 percent of the Latinos living in the United States.

But that county is in fourth place among the counties with the largest percentage of Hispanics. In Florida's Miami-Dade County, 65 percent of the population is Hispanic, while Latinos make up nearly 59 percent of the population of Bexar County, Texas.

Since 2000, the U.S. Hispanic population has grown by almost 50 percent, while the overall U.S. population grew by only 12 percent, Pew noted.

In large measure, the growth is occurring in relatively small geographic areas and the 10 counties with the largest Hispanic populations where 22 percent of the Latino population growth occurred.

Mexicans continue to be the largest group among Hispanics, although Puerto Ricans are the largest group in New York and New Jersey and Cubans are the largest group in Florida.

Hispanics of Mexican origin tend to be the youngest with an average age of 25 years, compared to 40 years for Mexicans.

Among the 14 most numerous groups of Latinos, Venezuelans are the ones with the greatest propensity to have a college degree - 51 percent - compared with just 7 percent among Guatemalans and Salvadorans.

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