The Guatemalan Surge in Maryland

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryThe 2010 U.S. Census has shown three important changes within the last ten years in the State of Maryland. First, it has shown that the Latino population has more than doubled. Second, for the first time the Latino population has out-grown the African American population in that state. Finally, the Latino population in Maryland has helped to revive its economy during the decade that has helped to keep many of that state’s small businesses (many of them catering to Latinos) operating.

Probably one of the biggest surprises is that the largest Latino group in Maryland now is the Guatemalans. The Guatemalans have had a foothold in that state since the 1980’s when many Guatemalans fled their native country during its civil war. Since then Guatemalan communities emerged and more Guatemalan immigrants came. This in turn increased not only the number of Guatemalan immigrant families but also the number of American children born of these Guatemalan immigrants. In fact, the 2010 U.S. Census found that Guatemalan families have the highest birthrate among Latinos in the state. Guatemalan families usually have three or more children.

After the Guatemalans come the Salvadorans. Like the Guatemalans, the Salvadorans came to Maryland fleeing the civil war in their country. Until the last decade, the Salvadorans were the largest Latino group in the state. This has changed in the last five years. The surprising thing is that many parts of the U.S. east coast Atlantic states actually have large concentrations of Central American immigrants. And yet, like the Mexicans and Central Americans who settled in the U.S. southwest, the Guatemalans have established their homes in an effort to stay and make lives for themselves and their families. Most of them, like the Mexicans, came legally and are trying to find their piece of the American Dream.

Comments are closed.