Mainly people recognized in the United States today as "Hispanic" or "Latino" are immigrants, or descendents of immigrants from countries that was under the rulings of the immense Spanish empire in the earlier days. Hispanics are one of the fastest growing groups in the United States today. At some indefinite moment within the next seven years, the Latino population in the United States will go beyond forty million, which will make the group the largest "minority" population (U.S Bureau of the census 1998).
The three largest groups of Hispanic Americans are Mexican Americans (57%), who live mainly in the Southwest (the area conquered in 1848 by the U.S during Mexican War); Puerto Ricans (10%), living mainly in the industrial Northeast; and Cuban Americans (5%), concentrated in Florida. This group was comprised largely of political and economic refugees (and their descendents) who immigrated to the United States following the Cuban Revolution in the mid 1980's.
Since World War Two, these three oldest and largest Latino communities have been joined by new migrants making the Latino population in the U.S more diverse. Other Hispanic groups gaining in importance are Dominicans, 520,151 of whom (1990) have settled mainly in and around New York City, where they have quickly gained political representation and improved their economic status. Political disorder in Central America has led to a recent flow in immigration from that area. 0f 1,323,830 Central American residents, 565,081 have come from El Salvador, 268,779 from Guatemala, and 202,658 from Nicaragua. The largest group from South America is the Colombians, who in 1990 numbered 378,726, many of them living in the borough of Queens in New York City. Colombians have been unique in importing their lifestyle to the United States. Friends, occupations, servants, goods, all have been replicated (U.S bureau of the census).