Introduction: This study examines demographic and socioeconomic factors concerning New York Metro Area Latinos between 2000 and 2008.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.
Results: Between 2000 and 2008, Latinos experienced a population increase of approximately 3% in the broader New York City metropolitan area (except for Hudson County). In 2008 Latinos accounted for over 26% of county populations in Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties, and over 15% of the populations in Essex, Hudson, Bergen, and Passaic counties. Hudson County in New Jersey stands out as having the highest Latino population percentage at 34% in 2008. Particularly significant is the finding that in the New Jersey counties the total population decreased between 2000 and 2008 while the Latino population increased - highlighted by Bergen County’s 54% growth.
Discussion: While the CLACLS Latino Data Project has mostly focused on the Latino population of New York City and some reports mention the Latino population in the surrounding counties across the Tri -State area, there has yet to be a published report based solely on the demographic, economic, and social transformations in the New York and New Jersey counties that border New York City. These counties should be of significant importance to the scientific, academic, and governmental communities that seek to better understand migration away from City itself and towards the suburban and rural communities of northern New Jersey. In addition, as sociologists Ruben Hernandez-Leon and Victor Zuniga (2006), and Douglas Massey (2008) have noted, many first generation immigrant Latino groups have begun to bypass the traditional gateway cities (e.g. New York City) in favor of “new immigrant destinations” due to comparatively better social opportunities such as employment, home ownership, and child education. New York City, as a metropolitan center, may be regarded by many Latinos as a barrier to their achievement of the “American Dream”- a barrier consisting of fierce competition for certain jobs, expensive housing, and overcrowded schools for their children.