New Jersey historical overview
By the end of the twentieth century Latinos had become a very significant portion of the population in the state of New Jersey. This phenomenon is the result of the large inflow of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean starting in the early 1940s. Although there has been at least some Latino presence throughout the history of New Jersey as a state, the numbers before the early 1940s were very limited. In 1850 the census recorded 23 foreign-born Mexicans and 294 other Americans (including non-Latino West Indians) in the state.1 The number of Mexicans had grown to 55 by 1900 and to 435 by 1940. Those from other parts of the Americas numbered 1,235 in 1900 and 3,524 in 1940, of which 1,362 had came from Cuba and the West Indies, and 2,162 from Central and South Amer-
ica. And just before World War II the Latino foreign stock (migrants and their children) totaled less than 7,000 persons, approximately four-tenths of one percent of the total New Jersey population. In addition, there were a small number of U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico residing in the state. Though there were Latinos in each of the New Jersey’s 21 counties, the largest number were in the most urbanized ones, Essex and Hudson. Less than 100 of the foreign born lived on farms.