Latinos are an indispensable part of the borough, totaling 551,004 in Queens, according to 2000 Census figures. The four main groups within the Latino community are Mexicans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians and Colombians. There are 69,875 Dominicans; 60,298 Colombians; 57,716 Ecuadorians and 55,418 Mexicans. Each of those numbers is roughly the size of the population of Southampton, Long Island (55,000).
Different groups of Latinos are dotted throughout Queens. They hold strong ties to family, country and language. In most Latino communities, residents are very comfortable speaking among each other in their native tongue. Many Dominicans have settled in Corona and Woodside. Colombians are very easy to find in the Jackson Heights area, specifically down Roosevelt Avenue. The number of Mexicans in Queens has soared since 2000; the folks from south of the Rio Grande settle in places like Jackson Heights and Corona.
Latino immigrants are often drawn to Queens because they can get jobs easily-and because they’re turned off by high rent prices in Manhattan. The economic downturn suffered by Mexico and Colombia in the 1980s and early ‘90s lured many to the US seeking work. Colombia’s civil war, also in the ‘80s, was another big reason for migration.
Latinos in Queens are still very much in touch with homeland cultures. Just like many minorities working hard to become Americanized and gain acceptance in their communities, Latinos are becoming stronger by the year within Queens.