About the Caribbean Immigrant community in the United States (2017)

The 1960s marked the beginning of the acceleration of Caribbean immigration. Starting with fewer than 200,000 in 1960, the Caribbean immigrant population grew significantly over the next couple decades. The population increased 248 percent in the 1960s (to 675,000), 86 percent in the 1970s (to 1.3 million), 54 percent in the 1980s (1.9 million), 52 percent in 1990s (3 million), and another 35 percent between 2000 and 2014.

Distribution by State and Key Cities

Caribbean immigrants were heavily concentrated in Florida (40 percent), New York (28 percent), and to a less extent, New Jersey (8 percent), according to 2010-14 ACS data. The top four counties with Caribbean immigrants were Miami-Dade County in Florida, Kings County in New York, Broward County in Florida, and Bronx County in New York. Together, these counties represented 41 percent of the Caribbean immigrant population in the United States.

In the 2010-14 period, the U.S. cities with the greatest number of Caribbean immigrants were the New York City and Miami metropolitan areas. These two metropolitan areas accounted for 64 percent of Caribbean immigrants in the United States.

Age, Education, and Employment

The Caribbean immigrant population was older than both the overall immigrant and native-born population. The median age of Caribbean immigrants was 48 years, compared to 44 for all foreign born and 36 for the native born. In 2014, 76 percent of Caribbean immigrants were of working age (18 to 64), compared to 80 percent of all immigrants and 60 percent of the native-born population (see Table 2). Median age also varies by origin country; immigrants from Cuba (52 years old), Trinidad and Tobago (50), and Jamaica (49) had significantly higher median ages than those from the Dominican Republic (44) and Haiti (46).  Cuban immigrants also were much less likely to be of working age (68 percent) than other Caribbean immigrant groups that more closely resembled the overall foreign-born population.

Among all Caribbean immigrants, those from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago had higher median household incomes ($51,000 and $52,000, respectively) and lower poverty rates (13 percent and 15 percent, respectively), while Cuban immigrants ($36,000 and 22 percent in poverty) and Dominican immigrants ($34,000 and 26 percent) fared the worst.


The Caribbean diaspora population in the United States is comprised of approximately 6.7 million individuals who were either born in the Caribbean (excluding those born in the Caribbean to at least one U.S.-born parent) or selected a U.S. Census-designated Caribbean country or “West Indian” in response to questions on ancestry, according to tabulations from the U.S. Census Bureau pooled 2010-14 ACS.


Global remittance flows to the Caribbean region have increased greatly in recent decades. In 2014, total remittances sent to the Caribbean via formal channels amounted to $9.7 billion, representing about 8 percent of the sum of gross domestic product (GDP) in this region, according to World Bank data. (Note: data are not available for some countries in the Caribbean, most notably Cuba, which received an estimated $1.4 billion from Cubans in the United States in 2015.)

© Researched and compiled by COMMONSENSE STRATEGIES  |  (347) 279-6668

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