80% of Central American migrants choose US, 30% in just four counties

by Paul Bedard
| September 04, 2019 11:26 AM

Some 80% of all Central American immigrants have landed in the United States, and about 30% live in just four U.S. counties, according to a new analysis of the growing population.

In a demonstration of how immigrant communities attract new immigrants, the federal and international statistics analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute found that the top four counties for Latin migrants are Los Angeles County, California, Harris County, Texas, Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Prince George’s County, Maryland.

The new report also identified which populations were the biggest in those counties.

It said, “The largest groups of Salvadorans (263,700) and Guatemalans (173,700) lived in Los Angeles County, while Miami-Dade County was the most popular destination for Nicaraguans (78,700) and Costa Ricans (5,500).

The Central American immigrant population in Prince George’s County, Md. was mainly comprised of Salvadorans (43,500) and Guatemalans (14,400); Harris County, Texas had a large population of Salvadorans (105,000) and Hondurans (51,600).”

The report said more than half of the 4.4 million migrants from Central America live in five broader areas around those counties. “The greater Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, and Houston metropolitan areas were home to the largest number of immigrants from Central America, together representing 51% of all Central Americans in the nation,” said the analysis.

The group said that Central American immigrants sent home a record $22.4 billion home in 2018, a six-fold increase since 2000. For Honduras and El Salvador, that money was 20% of the GDP.

While that is a worldwide figure, “almost 80%” of the 4.4 million immigrants from Central America live in the U.S. The report said that another 15% are in other Central American or Caribbean nations, 2% in Europe, and 2% in Canada.