Venezuelan population in U.S. has seen explosive growth since 2000

The Venezuelan population in the United States experienced a growth of 352 percent between 2000 and 2017, an explosive increase that experts attribute, in part, to the exodus caused by the ongoing economic and political crisis in Venezuela.

The number of Venezuela-born residents increased from 93,000 to 421,000 during that period and 52 percent of Venezuelan nationals live in Florida, 11 percent in Texas and 4 percent in New York, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Hispanics in the United States.

Together with Dominicans and Guatemalans, Venezuelans are one of the Hispanic groups that had the highest growth since 2010.

During the period analyzed, there were about 60 million Hispanics in the United States, which means 18 percent of the country’s total population.

“This impressive growth is similar to everything that is happening worldwide with Venezuelans: people fleeing the genocide in Venezuela. That is what brings the misfortune that we are living in Venezuela at the moment,” said Ernesto Ackerman, president of the Miami-based Independent Venezuelan-American Citizens (IVAC) organization.

Venezuela has been hit with hyperinflation that this year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts will reach 10,000,000 percent. And while Venezuelans continue to lose their purchasing power, they also face a severe shortage of medicines and food.

“People continue to leave Venezuela to escape violence, insecurity and threats as well as lack of food, medicine and essential services. With over 4 million Venezuelans now living abroad, the vast majority in countries within Latin America and the Caribbean, this is the largest exodus in the region’s recent history,” according to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Despite the increasing number of Venezuelans now living in the United States, they constitute the 13th largest population of Hispanic origin living in the country, representing less than 1 percent of the Latino population in 2017, according to the analysis.

Mexicans are the largest group of U.S. residents of Hispanic origin, with 36.6 million, and represent 62 percent of the Latino population in the period analyzed.

They are followed by Puerto Ricans with 3.6 million; Salvadorans with 2.3 million; Cubans with 2.2 million; Dominicans with 2 million; Guatemalans with 1.4 million; Colombians with 1.2 million and Hondurans with a population of 940,000.

Venezuelan profile

Of the Venezuelans living in the United States, 74 percent were born in Venezuela.

The median age is 34, younger than the U.S.-born residents with a median age of 38 and older than Hispanics overall, who have a median age of 29.

Fifty-five percent of the population, ages 25 and older, have at least a college degree compared to 16 percent of U.S. Hispanics. Fifty-seven percent, age five and older, speak English proficiently compared to 70 percent of Hispanics.

Among U.S. Hispanics, the median annual personal earnings for those ages 16 and older was $25,000, compared with $27,000 for Venezuelans.

Forty-three percent of Venezuelans own a home, compared to 47 percent of all Hispanics. The percentage of homeowners is higher for U.S. citizens of Venezuelan origin: 51 percent.