The major Cuban influx to Florida didn't begin with the Mariel Boatlift. In fact, Florida has always been a major destination for Caribbean immigrants, a situation unique among the States. A new interactive map from Pew Research Center reminds us of that.
Researchers combed through census data all the way back to 1850 to find the home country of the most immigrants in each state throughout the decades.
In 1850, Florida, like most of the East Coast, found itself as the new home for a lot of Irish immigrants, but that trend didn't hold strong.
By 1860, the Bahamas became the largest source of immigrants in Florida.
In the 1870s, the Germans dominated.
But then, in the 1880s, Cuba became the largest source.
Of course, Florida population in the 1800s was quite small. The entire population of the state was only 528,542 by 1890. Cubans, however, would remain the largest group of new immigrants until the 1910s. Bahamians jumped back to first place in the 1920s and '30s.
Beginning in the '40s, the British discovered Florida en masse, and they would remain the largest group of immigrants through the '60s.
Cuban immigration goes on to reclaim the top spot in the 1970s.
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It remains the same to this day.