Demographics Shift Among Cuban-Ancestry Hispanics

The share of foreign-born Cuban Hispanics living in the U.S. has declined steadily over the past decades, meaning a fundamental shift in the group’s demographic profile is underway. According to Pew Research Center, the demographic shift also reflects a general change in political outlook.

The share of foreign-born Cuban Hispanics living in the U.S. has declined steadily– from 68 percent in 2000 down to 57 percent in 2013– according to Pew. The population growth for Hispanics of Cuban ancestry who are living in the United States today is now driven by Cuban Americans who are born in the country, according to Pew Research Center.

While differences in views and outlooks could be expected among those in the group who left Cuba and those in the group who were born in the United States, the difference in political views extends to early Cuban national arrivals and later Cuban national arrivals. Among Cuban nationals who arrived in the United States after 1990, for example, 49 percent say Cuban-Americans and those who remain on the island nation share a lot of values in common. Of those who arrived before 1990, 41 percent of the group say they share almost nothing in common with their native countrymen.

The trend continues in terms of political party affiliation as 57 percent of those arriving since 1990 as identifying with or leaning towards the Democratic Party compared to only 35 percent of the group who arrived before 1990 as identifying with the Dems. On the flip side, 48 percent of those who arrived before 1990 identify with the Republican Party compared to only 19 percent of those who arrived after 1990 as identifying with the GOP.

More than 500,000 Cuban immigrants have arrived in the U.S. since 1990, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) numbers reported by Pew. By 2013, more than half– 56 percent– of Cuban immigrants had arrived since 1990.

The number of Cubans immigrating to the United States spiked dramatically in late 2014 when President Obama announced a renewal of U.S. / Cuba diplomatic ties. While many applaud the diplomacy among nations, the rekindling of relations also directly corresponds to a spike the number of Cubans entering the United States under a special immigration policy– wet foot / dry foot– established specifically for Cuban nationals. Under the policy, a Cuban national could apply for legal permanent residency status after living for just one year in the United States.

With the normalized status restored to diplomatic relations, President Obama shuttered the favorable immigration policy just days before ending his tenure in office. While the policy change means Cuban immigrants must now jump through the same hurdles faced by most other immigrants, the reformed policy is also in keeping with views held by those arriving in the United States after 1990. In one survey, for instance, researchers found those who most favored the restoration of U.S. / Cuba ties were those immigrants who arrived in 1995 or later.

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