Document Type

Research Report

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The Gastón Institute’s 2020 Latinos in Massachusetts series focuses on the ten largest Latino populations located throughout the state. In order of size, these Latino populations are Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Brazilians, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Colombians, Cubans, Hondurans, and Ecuadorans. This report analyzes Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) data from the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Economic factors have historically affected the migration patterns of Central Americans such as Guatemalans. Prior to the 1980s, Central American migration to the United States showed a marked bipolarity. The majority of migrants were upper- and middle-class individuals who could afford to travel and relocate. A minority were single women hired to do domestic work in the U.S. However, in the 1980s a dramatic shift emerged in the migration pattern. Armed conflicts in Central America, in which the U.S. under the Reagan administration supported brutally authoritarian right-wing forces, created social turmoil throughout the region. Emigration not only began to increase steeply, but it took on a different aspect. Sometimes whole families fled, sometimes only children, sometimes one or both parents came and left their children with other relatives back home. Guatemalans who have come to the U.S. since the ‘80s have represented a much broader range of class and occupational backgrounds than those who had come earlier. For this report our descriptive analysis uses both household- and individual-level data to estimate population size and percentages and to compare Guatemalans to Other Latinos and Non-Latinos in the state.



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