Roughly 1 in 10 U.S. Restaurants Serve Mexican Food

Pew Research Center data dives into the availability of Mexican and other Hispanic or Latino foods.

January 16, 2024

About 11% of restaurants in the United States serve Mexican food, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from SafeGraph, which curates information about millions of places of interest around the globe, and the user review site Yelp. The information (and maps) provides a useful overview of where Mexican restaurants, as well as restaurants that serve other Hispanic or Latino food, are most likely to be located and where there might be untapped markets.

The Pew Center found that 85% of U.S. counties have at least one Mexican restaurant. The 15% of counties without any Mexican restaurants have about 4 million people living in them—just 1% of the total U.S. population.

As might be expected, Mexican restaurants are most common in California and Texas. These two states have around 40% of all Mexican restaurants in the country. Florida, New York and Illinois also contain large numbers of Mexican restaurants. Each state has 4% of the nationwide total of these restaurants.

The data showed that 22% of Mexican restaurants nationwide are fast food restaurants, 12% specialize in serving tacos, 8% are classified as food trucks or carts, and 6% offer Tex-Mex food.

Among restaurants with pricing data, 61% of Mexican restaurants are rated as one “dollar sign” on Yelp’s four-point pricing scale.

Approximately 37.2 million people in the U.S. trace their ancestry to Mexico, making Mexican Americans by far the largest Hispanic origin group in the nation. However, about 40% of the nation’s Latinos claim another Hispanic origin. Pew analysis finds that only 2% of U.S. restaurants serve Hispanic or Latino cuisine other than Mexican. The most common types of non-Mexican Hispanic restaurants include Caribbean, Cuban, “Latin American,” Peruvian, Salvadoran and Spanish restaurants. 

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