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Southern Copper, Hispanic Cities, and Venezuelan Migrants
Welcome to Latinometrics. We bring you Latin American insights and trends through concise, thought-provoking data visualizations.
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A Peruvian copper company has been making some gains.
What’s the most Latino city in each US state?
Here’s where Venezuelan migrants end up.
Make sure you check out the comment of the week at the bottom!
Mining Industry ⛏
Copper is the most widely used metal in energy generation, transmission infrastructure, and storage; it's also commonly used to build houses and automobiles. Its price has reached all-time highs in the past two years, and the copper mining industry has been booming.
Two forces best explain the surge in prices. First, copper has been increasingly important as the world transitions lots of energy into renewables like solar and electric vehicles. At the same time, the production of copper hasn't been keeping up with the growth other important metals have had. In simple economic terms: demand is exploding, and supply isn't keeping up.
Southern Copper has been part of the industry since 1952 and is now the 5th largest copper company worldwide. Grupo Mexico acquired the company in 2005, and since then, it has become an excellent investment. Southern Copper has a higher market cap than Grupo Mexico. Last year, it hit its highest-ever revenues and net income ($3.4B).
97% of East Los Angeles is Hispanic or Latino. Although that number is staggering, it's not surprising that the most Hispanic city in the US is in California.
There are Latino-heavy communities in more unexpected parts of the country. For instance, the town of Lawrence, Massachusetts, is 79% Latino, a percentage comparable to El Paso, Texas. A significant portion of the Latino population in the state is Brazilian. How does a Brazilian community in the middle of cold New England start, and what keeps bringing immigrants to join it?
Often, a simple relationship between specific parts of two countries can spark a wave of migration. For instance, Brazil's cultural exchanges with Massachusetts started during World War II, when Boston Engineers went to Minas Gerais for work. Relationships between Engineers and the locals encouraged some Brazilians to venture out and study or work in the state of Massachusetts, giving birth to a community that has only grown stronger recently.
In other cases, waves of migration have occurred due to labor recruitment. The town of Pasco, Washington, in a state that borders Canada, is 57% Latino. The strong Mexican presence is attributed to the state's vital agricultural sector, a need for extensive labor, and the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s. Today, Pasco residents celebrate the Fiery Foods Festival, where they display spicy foods of all varieties.
Fueled by the initial brave few that embark on chasing the "American Dream," communities grab momentum. Their support network is compelling for subsequent migrants seeking a better life or escaping dire conditions back home.
On the other extreme is a place like Fargo, North Dakota, where only 3% of its residents are Latino. But even in North Dakota, Latinos are a quickly growing demographic — their share of the population doubled from 2010 to 2020.
There are over 7M Venezuelan refugees in the world. 84% of them have fled to other Latin American countries. Colombia is the country with the most Venezuelan migrants, with 2.5M, followed by Peru, with 1.5M. Venezuela's largest border is shared with Colombia, and Peru is in proximity.
Elsewhere, the US has received 545K Venezuelan migrants, and Spain has received 438K. This August, Venezuelans surpassed Guatemalans and Hondurans to become the second-largest nationality stopped at the US border (after Mexicans). Venezuelans were stopped 25K times this August, up 43% from the previous month and 4x compared to August 2021.
Why are Venezuelans fleeing? Years of failed socio-economic policies have taken freedoms away from its citizens and brought doom to the country, including:
Minimum wage is $15 USD/month
One of the world's highest inflation rates
76% of its population lives in extreme poverty (<$1.90/day)
Spikes in violence and uncertainty across the whole country
Poor access to clean running water, electricity, and basic medical services
Repression through fraudulent elections, political arrests, and a lack of press freedom
The journey Venezuelans undertake to get to the US is really dangerous. It includes traveling through Panama's notorious jungle, the Darien Gap, and Mexico’s deserts. And many get stuck along the way, sometimes just before arriving.
For example, 300 Venezuelans were deported from El Paso to Juarez last week after a recent US/Mexico agreement seeking to address the situation. This agreement states that the US will offer an additional 24k visas for Venezuelans but will return anyone that crosses the border illegally to Mexico. Today, deported migrants are asking for money near bridges and living on the streets. This is worrying as the cold winter approaches, and they find themselves in limbo.
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