Hofstra Pulse Magazine

Increased Number of Latin American Immigrants to Long Island

By: Maggie Stamets

The immigrant population of Nassau County has increased by 19 percent from 238,414 to 292,000

between the 2000 and 2010 censuses. The overall number of foreign-born citizens has increased from

17.9 percent of the 1.3 million to 21.2 percent of the now 1.4 million Nassau County residents.


The top 10 countries of origin, which account for nearly 150,000 or 51.7 percent of all immigrants

in Nassau County according to the 2012 census, are El Salvador, India, China, Haiti, Jamaica, the

Dominican Republic, Italy, Honduras, Colombia, and Korea.


Immigrants from Italy are the only Europeans still moving to Nassau County in any great numbers.

For example, the 1950 census shows the vast majority of New York immigrants were from European

countries, such as England and Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria, USSR, Italy,

Canada, and the other Americas.


When looking at the data from the 1960 census and comparing it to the 2010 census, major changes in

the make-up of the foreign-born population become apparent. These changes may be in part because

of the 1965 Immigration Act which abolished the National Origins Formula. The National Origins

Formula favors new immigrants on the basis of existing proportions of the population. Today’s immigrant

population is vastly different from that of 50 years ago; with the majority of immigrants coming from Latin

America instead of Europe as they were in the mid-twentieth century.


Latin America now accounts for the single biggest group of foreign-born residents in Nassau County with

approximately 51.7 percent of the total 290,000 immigrant population. This is consistent with the data

from overall U.S. immigration, which shows that immigrants from Latin America account for 52.2 percent

of the nation’s 41 million foreign-born population. Of this total immigrant population, over 11.5 million

come from Mexico , as well as over 2.5 million from Cuba and El Salvador.



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