Geography and the sparse communication between Maryland and Latin America contributed to the small number of Latinos settling in the state after the American War of Independence. Even throughout the first half of the twentieth century the Latino population in Maryland did not appear significant. This has to do with the slow demographic growth of the state, with an economy that has always been closely tied to both low labor-intensive forms of production and to the growth of the federal government, and with the fact that relatively close cities, such as Philadelphia and New York, have traditionally been magnets for Latino migration.
Like in most other states in the nation, the number, composition, and geographical distribution of the Latino community in Maryland have been in large part the result of transnational networks and events in Latin America. Before the 1980s, the Latino community in Maryland was primarily composed of a handful of professional and other political exiles who had left their countries to escape persecution; they took refuge in the counties of Prince George and Montgomery, along Maryland’s DC metro area. For these migrants the major attractions the state offered were the abundance of professional and international jobs, its proximity to other major cities along the Washington, DC-New York corridor, and the
relative low cost of living. This was the case, for instance, with the population of Cuban Americans who settled in the area after the Cuban Revolution.
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