ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — People from El Salvador comprise a large portion of Maryland’s growing Hispanic community, census data released Thursday shows.

The U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are 123,789 people from the Central American nation who now live in Maryland, representing 2.1 percent of the state’s population. Hispanics now make up 8.2 percent of the state’s population.

More than half of the state’s growth by about 477,000 people between 2000 and 2010 resulted from increases in the Hispanic population. The new census figures show that 3.4 percent of the state’s Latinos come from Central America, mostly El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. People from Mexico make up about 1.5 percent of Maryland’s population. People from South American nations make up about 1.1 percent.

Nancy Lyall, legal coordinator with Mexicans Without Borders in Virginia’s Prince William County, said the county’s tough stance on immigration likely contributed to Hispanics moving to Maryland. The county’s immigration policy, which took effect in 2008, requires police to check the legal status of everyone taken into custody for an alleged local or state crime.

“We know a lot of them moved to Alexandria and Arlington, but I’m sure a lot of them also went to Maryland,” Lyall said.

Lyall also noted that Virginia stopped accepting a federal work permit as proof of legal status when obtaining a driver’s license, making it harder for some immigrants to get them.

Bishop Francisco Gonzalez, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Washington who has been working on Hispanic outreach efforts for about 40 years, said the archdiocese now officers mass in Spanish at 38 churches on weekends. The archdiocese includes Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, where many of the state’s Hispanic residents live.

“The number of Hispanics is increasing in part for two main reasons. They continue to come from Latin America, and second they have larger families than the Anglo-Saxon community, so the numbers increase,” Gonzalez said.

The census also showed a 51 percent increase in the number of people who responded that they are living in same-sex couple relationships over the past decade. There were 16,987 same-sex couples in the state, up from 11,243 in 2000.

“All of the evidence is that the bulk of the increase is due to increased willingness to report on the part of same-sex couples,” said Gary Gates, a demographer with the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he will sponsor legislation in the 2012 legislative session legalizing same-sex marriage. Gay marriage legislation passed the Maryland Senate this year, but stalled in the House of Delegates.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (10)
  1. Matt says:

    Im guessing because the state has very lenient immigration laws that are not strictly enforced.

  2. Charles says:

    Because of Maryland politicians we have become a “sanctuary” state for illegals. All currently in office must be voted out, but that will not happen since this a very “liberal” state.

    1. dan says:

      we’re all immigrants, get over it

  3. Can't Fix Stupid says:

    About 1% of these parasites are legal. GO HOME!

    1. Omar. says:

      image if back in the days when your family came to USA… yeah that is right your family is more like to have travel over seas to USA they were treated the same way.. America stop acting like this let focus on other stuff lets teach our kids that the new waves of people that are coming to the USA are from Latin America. It show how inteligent and respectful we human can get sometimes..

    2. dan says:

      says the chief head of the Cherokee tribe

  4. Pablo says:

    The country let this happen when they failed to uphold immagration laws. It would be political suicide to alienate the illegal aliens. Might as well give them amnesty and let our little brown neighbors start paying for the free social services they use. If they are illegal with no SSN, how on earth would there be a truly accurate head count?? I bet the number is closer to 800K.



  6. baltimore resident says:

    and the State wonders why they are in a money bind? let me see more handouts than money coming in means?????? Stop the handouts and see how fast they leave Maryland and if the feds stopped then how fast would the flight back across the border be!!! Taxpayers would see more money for use for services they pay tax for and assistance for the real legal citizens who deserve it!!

  7. whatnow says:

    did I read this right, Hispanics are 8% of MD?????? Apparently they all live in AA County! I can’t walk 10 feet without hearing “yakketyyakketyyakkety”.