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The Paraguayan population in the United States at the 2010 Census was 20,023. Paraguayans are the smallest Hispanic group in the United States.
The Paraguayan population is concentrated mainly in Queens, NY, Westchester County, NY, and Somerset County, NJ. Additional areas of concentration include Miami-Dade County and Montgomery County, Maryland. The highest concentration of Paraguayans in the US reside in Somerset County, NJ.
It is estimated that the first Paraguayans arrived to the United States between the years of 1841 and 1850. At that time, Paraguayans were not coming directly to the United States from Paraguay, but through other countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. The Paraguayan residents in the U.S. were included in the early records in the group of "other" South Americans. During those years, 3,579 "other" immigrants arrived.
In the 1960s, one-fourth of all Paraguayans were registered as living in countries outside Paraguay, with a majority in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. In 1979, close to 11,000 Paraguayans immigrated to the United States, but the numbers declined rapidly. In 1982, 4,000 Paraguayans immigrated to the United States. The reasons of migration were varied, but many immigrants were young people that wanted educational opportunities to get professional knowledge, skills, and to have better jobs.
Additionally, some of the immigrants arrived for political reasons or to escape civil riots. The women exceeded in number to the male immigrants slightly, and more than half of its immigrants lacked occupation. Many Paraguayan immigrants were also infants adopted by American families. More than a thousand Paraguayan infants were adopted in this country. Of these, 254 were adopted in 1989, 405 in 1993 and 351 in 1995.
Paraguayan American women generally accept jobs in hotel housekeeping. Others have agricultural jobs in California and Kansas. The latter state has partnered with Paraguay in an exchange program through a non-profit volunteer organization called Partners of the Americas. Both Kansas and Paraguay are land-locked, grow cattle and wheat, and are roughly the same size and population. Also a small number of Paraguayan American professionals who immigrated in search of better job and pay.
Of the 80 Paraguayan Americans who became U.S. citizens in 1984, only one arrived that year. In fact, most of these immigrants arrived eight to ten years earlier. Between 1987 and 1996, naturalization figures for Paraguayans in the United States increased slightly. Thus, in 1996, 420 Paraguayans became American citizens.
In 1990, 5,144 Paraguayan Americans spoke Spanish or Guarani (indigenous language of Paraguay), and 2,903 Paraguayan Americans did not speak English very well. They have grown within the Hispanic community in the United States.
In accordance with the 1990 U.S. Census, of 4,132 Paraguayan American adults 25 years old and older, 997 were high school graduates, 700 attended school through 12th grade, although have no diploma, 429 have a bachelor's degree, and 653 have had some college experience. Of the 5,415 Paraguayan Americans in the U.S. population, 1,830 only are enrolled in school.
The large populations of Paraguayan Americans are in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles. Paraguayan Americans also have population importance in Dallas and Atlanta. Many unskilled Paraguayan Americans have jobs in the service industry in urban zones such as Minneapolis, Chicago or states like New York and New Jersey.
The 10 states with the largest population of Paraguayans (Source: 2010 Census):
The largest population of Paraguayans are situated in the following areas (Source: Census 2010):
The top 25 US communities with the highest populations of Paraguayans (Source: Census 2010)
US communities with the highest percentages of Paraguayans as a percent of total population (Source: Census 2010)
Paraguayans are more than 1% of the entire population in only five communities in the US. All of these communities are located in Somerset County, NJ.
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