Latinos in Virginia

Posted by admin | Oct 29, 2010 | Comments Off

According to the 2010 Census, Virginia population surpassed 8 million residents for the first time.

More than 630,000 Virginia residents are of Hispanic origin, accounting for nearly 8% of the state’s population, constituting a 92% increase since 2000.   Sixty-two percent of the commonwealth’s Hispanics live in Northern Virginia. Hispanics represent one third of the state’s 113,000 new residents, originating largely from Virginia births, not migration.

Fifty-three percent of Virginia’s Hispanics are native citizens; 13% are naturalized U.S. citizens; and 34% are foreign-born non-citizens. Most of Virginia’s foreign-born Hispanics were born in El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Guatemala.

This section of the CJ website includes studies and other references about Virginia’s Latino population. To update or add to it, please email Please note that the CJ website has two other sections providing local (greater Charlottesville area) and national resources.

VACOLAO Clipping Service
A daily clipping service on issues relating to the Virginia Latino population is provided by the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations (VACOLAO), an alliance among organizations in Virginia that serve or support the interests of the Latino/Hispanic community to empower the community and secure equal treatment, equal opportunity, and equal representation for Latinos/Hispanics.

Virginia’s Diverse Population (July 2011)
UVa Weldon Center power point providing useful statistics on the State’s diverse populations.
Location: Click here

Banks, Credit Unions Can Tap $169 Billion Market of Latino and Other “Unbanked” Households, UVA Darden Study Finds (June 17, 2011)
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business and its Tayloe Murphy Center released the findings
of a major study today that outlines specific steps for how banks and credit unions can capture billions of
dollars in deposits by reaching out to Latino and other “unbanked” households across the United States.
The study focuses on unbanked Latino households in Virginia and North Carolina. Read more.

Hispanics in Virginia (May 9, 2011)
This UVa Weldon Cooper Center report on Virginia’s Hispanic residents explores demographic
characteristics, citizenship and immigration, family and personal life, education and language,
employment and economic well-being, and geographic location.

Virginia 2000 – 2010 Census: Population by Race (March 2011) 
A Census table indicating population by Race Alone or in Combination and Hispanic or Latino Origin, for All Ages and for 18 Years and Over, for Virginia: 2000 and 2010.

Immigration Bills Spur Fear, Action Among Area Latinos (March 2011)
A Cville interview with Tim Freilich, Legal Aid Justice Center, about the reaction of Latinos to legislative proposals in the Virginia Assembly.

Serving Immigrant Families (March 2011)
The 24 page Spring 2011 issue of the Virginia Child Protection Newsletter features numerous articles about Virginia’s immigrant and Latino children and the issues they confront.  It can be downloaded in PDFat

UVa Assesses 2010 Census Data on Virginia’s Hispanic Population (February 2011)
A concise fact sheet highlighting 2010 census data.

Virginia 2010 Census: City and County Populations by Race (February 2011)
A Census table indicating the racial compositions and Hispanic/Latino populations by county or city.

2010 Virginia Census Data (February 2011)
Tables, analysis and other references related to census findings, including data on Hispanics, can be found at the Pew Hispanic Site:

Latinos in Waynesboro (December 2010)
Waynesboro, 30 minutes from Charlottesville, has a growing Latino community which is almost 6% of the population. The December 11 print edition of the News Virginia contains a six-page pullout section of stories, photos and statistics about Waynesboro’s Latino community. Some of these can be found online at

Number of undocumented falls, especially in Virginia (September 2010)
A Pew Hispanic Center report revealed the number of undocumented immigrants entering the US fell by nearly 2/3rds between 2005 to 2009. In the first part of the past decade, the number of undocumented coming into the country was about 850,000 a year. With recession and harsh laws targeting immigrants, it fell to 300,000 a year between 2007 and 2009. The number of undocumented immigrants estimated to be in the country fell by 1 million to about 11 million, the report says. Among states, the biggest declines were in Virginia, Florida and Nevada. In Virginia, the number of undocumented immigrants declined by 65,000, to 240,000. and

Latino Financial Practices In Virginia
This report by Cultural Expressions Consulting from August 2010, Transactions en la Tienda: Alternatives to Traditional Financial Service Providers Among Hispanic Immigrants in Virginia, explores Latino banking practices in central Virginia, revealing the large percentage of Latino immigrants in the Charlottesville area that use tiendas (small local stores) rather than banks to make financial transactions and wire money to their country of origin. To read the full article click here.

The Economic Power of Latinos
Data updated (July 2010) by the Immigration Policy Center about the economic impact of Latinos and other immigrants. Data for Virginia is located at:

Demographic Profile of Hispanics in Virginia
The profile, released in March 2010, contains demographic and economic facts about the Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations in the state of Virginia based on the 2008 American Community Survey.

Latinos in Dixie: Class and Assimilation in Richmond, Virginia (October 2009)
Confounding stereotypes, this book details the experiences of a growing but little-known group, Latinos in the south. Authors Debra Schleef and H. B. Cavalcanti provide rich survey data from Richmond, a midsize city where a Latino community has only recently emerged. Notably, many of the new arrivals in Richmond are middle-class professionals. From language use, ethnic customs, and family life to workplace dynamics and, ultimately, political and religious participation, this book explores what Latinos experience in moving to Richmond and what they bring to a city previously marked by only a black/white ethnic divide. The intersections of geographic mobility, isolation, and segmented assimilation processes are discussed and shown to intensify class differences, as well-educated Latino professionals dominate the cultural and political landscape while less-well-off immigrants remain marginal. A preview of the book can be found in Google Books; Google the book for reviews and to purchase it.

1,000-foot felony: Charges dropped in 2 drug cases
Three alleged Latino cocaine dealers from Fredericksburg and Woodbridge were arrested and charged with possessing with the intent to distribute 4.5 ounces of cocaine within 1,000 feet of Woodbrook Elementary.
Source: Hook, November 21, 2009
Location: Click here

The Migration Policy Institute Data Hub
The Migration Policy Institute has current statistics (as of 2008) on characteristics of immigrants state by state. To view the Fact Sheets on Social and Demographic, Language and Education, Workforce, and Income and Poverty statistics for Virginia immigrants, go to:

Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission
Type foreign born in this site’s search engine and it will identify numerous briefings and reports conducted by this office related to the acclimation of Virginia’s ethnically diverse population, government policies and programs, needs, benefits and costs, and options for facilitating acclimation, and among other topics, language access.

Health Care Discrimination Harms Communities of Color in Virginia (July 2009)
A newly released Health Care for America Now study provided some health statistics for Virginia: 31% of Latinas receive no prenatal care; the annual AIDS case rate (per 100,000 people) is 18.5% for Latinos; about 45% of Latinos lack health insurance in Virginia compared to 33.5% of Latinos nationwide; and the percentage of uninsured Latina women is much higher in Virginia, about 42.5% when compared to the national figure of 37.3%. To read a media article click here or to read a three page report summary:

New data on Virginia’s undocumented immigrants (April 2009)
Virginia ‘s undocumented immigrant population doubled since 2000 to an estimated 300,000 in 2008, according to the new Pew Hispanic Center report “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States.”The study also says the rapid growth of illegal immigrants has slowed. (April 2009). The center estimates that the state’s labor force includes about 210,000 illegal immigrants, or about 5.1 percent of workers. About 4 percent of the state’s total population of 7.7 million is made up of illegal immigrants, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research group that reports on Latinos’ growing impact on the nation. The Virginia numbers mirror the national trend, with illegal immigrants making up 4 percent of the nation’s population and 5.4 percent of the labor force. Read the report at

Over 20% of Latinos in the Class of ’08 Dropped Out in Virginia (April 2009)
An April Washington Post report “Nearly 9% of Class of ’08 Dropped Out in Virginia” disclosed that “Nearly 9 percent of Virginia public school students in the Class of 2008 dropped out during their high school years, most showing warning signs such as missing class frequently and repeating grades before giving up on school, state education officials said yesterday. African American, Hispanic and disadvantaged students have respective graduation rates of 73.9, 71.5 and 70.6%. In Northern Virginia, Alexandria had the highest dropout rate, with 11.1 percent. Loudoun County had one of the lowest, 3.3 percent. The rate was 5.6 percent in Fairfax County. Statewide, Hispanic students were among the most likely to fail to graduate, with nearly 20 percent dropping out. Nearly 60 percent of Virginia dropouts repeated at least one grade in high school. More than 40 percent were freshmen or 10th-graders who were at least age 17. Dropouts were more likely to miss days of school, and many were students learning English as a second language.” To read the report, visit Review Virginia’s 2008 on-time graduation rates at:

Immigration Fact Sheet (October 2008)
Prepared by the Virginia Interfaith Public Policy Center, this document blends Virginia and National myth busting facts. Click here.

Study: 1-in-10 Virginians foreign born
A UVA Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service study, published in July 2008, found that immigrants account for one-fourth of Virginia’s population growth since 2000. In 2006, the top five countries of birth for Virginia’s foreign-born were El Salvador, Mexico, Korea, the Philippines and India. With 9% of its population, Harrisonburg has the second highest percentage of foreign-born residents in Virginia, followed by Charlottesville , Richmond, Virginia Beach and Winchester, all of which have 6% percent of their population foreign-born.
Location: Click here

Stat Chat - Virginia’s Foreign-Born Population (July 2008)
Published by the UVA Weldon Cooper Center.
A UVA article on the data:

Nearly 25 Percent of Children Younger Than 5 Are Latino, Census Says (May 1, 2008)
The Washington Post article refers to recent Census figures, stating “Hispanics, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority group, now account for about one in four children younger than 5 in the United States.  … In Virginia … Hispanics account for 11 percent of children younger than 5.” Location of article:

The Latinization of the Central Shenandoah Valley (March 2008) 
Published in International Migration by Laura Zarrugh, the abstract reads: “ Virginia is among a number of southern states in the United States, such as North Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia, which have experienced a sudden growth in Latino immigration during the past decade. Not only is the volume of growth unprecedented, but many of the destinations are new and located in rural areas. Places that have not hosted immigrant populations for generations are quickly becoming multicultural. The small city of Harrisonburg (population 43,500 according to the 2005 estimate), which is located in the rural Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, is perhaps the premier example of this new pattern of change. While local advertising once promoted Harrisonburg for its “99.2% American-born and 93.7% white” population, the area today holds the distinction of hosting the most diverse public school enrollment in the state (in 2006-2007), with students from 64 countries who speak 44 languages. Among them are Spanish speakers from at least 14 different countries. Drawing on social network theory, the paper examines how social networks among Latino immigrants become activated in new settlement areas. It presents a case history of the historic process of “Latinization” involving the settlement of a number of diverse Latino populations (from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Cuba and Uruguay) in Harrisonburg and the surrounding Central Shenandoah Valley. The study demonstrates how a number of key institutions, including local agricultural industries (apples and poultry), a refugee resettlement office and churches recruited “pioneers” from these immigrant groups to the area and how “pioneers” subsequently engaged in further social network recruitment, thus creating multiple transnational “daughter communities” in the Harrisonburg area. The policy implications of this historical process are explored.”

UVA Study Finds Hispanic Population Varied and Growing
This is a UVA news release about the UVA Weldon Cooper Center study released on February 25, 2008. The article and an audio about the study can be found at The PDF report issued by the Center is at

UVA Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service Presentation before the Virginia Commission on Immigration (January 2008)
The presentation noted that Virginia’s largest Latino populations are Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans. It also reported that more than half of Virginia’s 481,500 Latinos are U.S. born citizens, 13% are naturalized citizens, and the rest are living in the State with or without legal authorization. Around 85% of Latino children (less than 18) residing in Virginia are U.S. born. The presentation and a related power point are full of national data about years of residence in the U.S., family incomes, English proficiency, educational attainment, labor force participation, participation in Social Services programs, the uninsured, living arrangements, and transportation. There is also a map indicating where Latino populations are most concentrated in Virginia. For the presentation, visit:

Virginia Hispanics in the 2008 Election Fact Sheet, prepared by the Pew Hispanic Center, contains data on the size and social and economic characteristics of the Hispanic and non-Hispanic eligible voter populations. The fact sheet is based on the Center’s tabulations of the Census Bureau’s 2006 American Community Survey. Among data for Virginia, its Hispanic population is the 16th largest in the nation. More than 466,000 Hispanics reside in Virginia, 1% of all Hispanics in the United States. There are 149,000 eligible Hispanic voters in Virginia, less than 1% of all U.S. Hispanic eligible voters. To view or print out the fact sheet, visit:

Tax Contributions of Virginia’s Undocumented Immigrant (2008)
The executive summary of a study of The Commonwealth Institute indicates that unauthorized immigrants in Virginia “provide critical labor to certain industries, including construction, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality, and the $2.6 billion to $3.1 billion in income earned by this group is used to purchase goods and services in the Commonwealth. Furthermore, the taxes paid by the undocumented population total between $260 million and $311 million. When the payroll taxes of employers of undocumented immigrants working on the books are considered, these numbers increase to between $379 million and $453 million.”

Undocumented Workers in Virginia Pay $300+ Million in Taxes (2008)
A new study by the Commonwealth Institute debunks one major myth of the anti-illegal-immigrant movement, that undocumented workers supposedly don’t pay taxes. To the contrary the undocumented population – numbering between 250,000 and 300,000 – contributes to the Virginia economy in substantial ways. They provide critical labor to certain industries, including construction, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality, and the $2.6 billion to $3.1 billion in income earned by this group is used to purchase goods and services in the Commonwealth. Furthermore, the taxes paid by the undocumented population total between $260 million and $311 million. When the payroll taxes of employers of undocumented immigrants working on the books are considered, these numbers increase to between $379 million and $453 million. To read the full report, visit “Fiscal Facts: Tax Contributions of Virginia’s Undocumented Immigrants” at

Working with Latino Clients in Clinical Settings (October 2007)
Power point presentation by Dr. Rosalie Corona, VCU, used at the CJ Mental Health & Latinos forum. To contact Dr. Corona, write Click here to view the presentation.

We are Latinos (October 2007)
Power point presentation by Dr. Sandy Lopez-Baez, UVa, used at the CJ Mental Health & Latinos forum. 2007. To contact Dr. Baez, write Click here to view the presentation.

From Workers to Owners: Latino Entrepreneurs in Harrisonburg, Virginia (Fall 2007)
Published in Human Organization by Laura Zarrugh, the abstract reads: “In the vast literature on immigrant and ethnic entrepreneurship in the United States, relatively little attention has been paid to Latino entrepreneurship, perhaps because Latinos (except Cubans) tend to be perceived as labor migrants. For the same reason, even less attention has been given to the Latino small businesses that have quickly become a ubiquitous part of new Latino settlements in the rural South over the past two decades. Based on structured interviews with over 30 Latino business owners, this paper describes the growth of Latino-owned businesses in Harrisonburg, Virginia (population 40,468 in 2000) that has occurred since 1990 in tandem with the ever-increasing size and complexity of the local Latino community. In particular, the paper examines both the “structure of opportunity” for Latino entrepreneurship outside traditional gateway cities and the social and cultural characteristics of the entrepreneurs and their businesses. The paper highlights the role of local poultry processing plants in the settlement process and entrepreneurs’ work histories.”

Truths About Virginia’s Immigrants (September 13, 2007)
This article by Qian Cai, the director of the demographics and work-force section of UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, highlights “essential facts about Virginia immigrants” that “should inform thoughtful and prudent public policy and programs.” Click here to read the article.

Survey Results: Virginia Residents Sharply Divided On Immigration (June 28, 2007)
According to the results of a George Mason study on Virginia attitudes towards Latinos: “Not surprisingly, the overall results suggest that Virginians oppose the extension of many human services to the undocumented. Most (58 percent) reject government funding for day-labor centers, and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) would deny undocumented students the right to pay in-state tuition at colleges and universities. Virginians also support tighter controls over the movements of immigrants: 54 percent of Virginians approve of the activities of Minuteman-like groups, and an even larger proportion (73 percent) would allow local police to conduct immigration checks during routine traffic stops. The most important findings lie beneath the surface of the overall results. Here we find that Virginians are often sharply divided along racial and economic lines. While the great majority of Latinos view the undocumented in favorable terms, African-Americans express especially strong concerns about the economic consequences of illegal immigration. In fact, while 29 percent of non-Hispanic whites strongly agree that “undocumented immigrants lower the wages and salaries of American workers,” nearly half (49 percent) of African-Americans express such concerns. Negative views of illegal immigrants and immigration are also most pronounced among the least privileged economic groups in the state. Among households with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, 44 percent of our respondents agree that the undocumented “take jobs away from American workers.” Among the most affluent respondents in our study (those with incomes above $150,000), only half that proportion (21.8 percent) share this belief. And respondents who reside in counties that have higher rates of poverty or unemployment are especially likely to hold negative views of undocumented immigrants.”
Click here for the study; to read a press release about it visit:

Latinos & Teen Pregnancy (March 2007)
The United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and births in the western industrialized world. Teen pregnancy costs the United States at least $7 billion annually. Hispanics led the nation in teen births in 2004, with 82.6 children born per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national rate in that age range was 41.1 births per thousand girls. The CDC data shows Mexican and Puerto Rican girls at an especially high risk, and both groups have settled in Virginia in significant numbers. The state had double-digit drops in births among black and white girls ages 15 to 19 from 1990 to 2003. But in that same age group, births rose 50 percent among Latinas, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Web resources include:

Virginia Hispanics Send Money To Homelands: $1 Billion A Year Leaves State (October 25, 2006)
This year in Virginia, more than 280,000 Latin American and Caribbean immigrants will send $1.1 billion to relatives in their homelands, according to a study by the Washington, D.C.-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). That’s an 89 percent increase in the amount of money sent to the region in 2004. Click here to read article.

Our Roots (2006)
A power point presentation by Dilcia Colindes, Advocate for Spanish Speaking Community, Shelter for Help in Emergency (Charlottesville), and member of Creciendo Juntos – Growing Together. Click here to see the presentation.

Click here to read this article – describing the Latino presence in Virginia – written by Pablo Davis and published in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos & Latinas in the US (Oxford University Press, 2005).

Southern Regional Education Board: Virginia (2005)
Contains statistics about the Hispanic population in Virginia. Click here.

From Workers to Owners: Hispanic Entrepreneurs in the Shenandoah Valley
Source: This December 2004 research paper analyzing responses to questionnaires was prepared by Laura Zarrugh (, a JMU cultural anthropologist who studies Latino immigration in the Shenandoah Valley.

Mingo Rocks the Palace
Source: This Spring 2004 article about the Mexican master musician Mingo Saldívar and his tour of Virginia, including the Eastern Shore, has some useful information on VFH and on the Mexican and Latino presence in VA.
Source: Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Newsletter
Spanish translation
English article

Cultural and Psychosocial Correlates of HIV Risk in Rural Latino Men in Virginia (2004)
Citation: Int Conf AIDS 2004 Jul 11-16; 15:(abstract no. D12959)
Author: Bradford JB, Jarama SL; Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory, Richmond, VA
Conclusion: This population of Latino men in rural Virginia reported behaviors consistent with high HIV risk and transmission. Culturally-based attitudes and lack of HIV knowledge were principal barriers to prevention efforts. Systemic issues in the target area would have to be addressed for culturally-based interventions to be effective. See an abstract at: To obtain the full report, write Aids Education Global Information System at

HIV Risks for Latino Men in Rural Virginia (2003)
Citation: Natl HIV Prev Conf 2003 July 27-30:abstract no. MP-116
Author: Bradford J, Jarama L; VCU Survey and Evaluation Research Lab, Richmond, VA
Conclusion: This population of Latino men, mostly migrant workers, in rural Virginia are at risk of HIV infection due to knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and cultural influences. There is a need for HIV prevention education programs to address their needs, tailored to match cultural and demographic characteristics, and in keeping with local structures and networks. See an abstract at: To obtain the full report, write Aids Education Global Information System at

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