10 Fast Facts About Haitian Immigrants In The U.S.

haitians-remembered-in-georgia
Memorial in Franklin Square honouring Haitian volunteers who fought with Pulaski during the Siege of Savannah, Georgia, 1779.
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haitians-remembered-in-georgia
Memorial in Franklin Square honouring Haitian volunteers who fought with Pulaski during the Siege of Savannah, Georgia, 1779.

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. April 11, 2016: As 60 Haitian-American leaders and Diaspora organizations sent a second letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late last week urging the Obama administration to end its staunch opposition to a recount in Haiti’s disputed presidential elections, the strong Diaspora lobbying has put the spotlight on the growing strength of Haitians in the U.S. Here are 10 fast facts on Haitians in the United States:

1: The number of Haitians in the United States is put at 586,000 black immigrants, or some 15% of the U.S. black immigrant population according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

2: However, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank says the number of people of Haitian descent living in the U.S. is approximately 929,074, not including the scores of Haitians living in the U.S. without legal status.

3: The majority of Haitian immigrants arrived in the United States before 2000 (61 percent), 30 percent between 2000 and 2009, and fewer than one-tenth since 2010, MPI says.

4: Department of Homeland Security data analyzed by MPI shows that 260,000 lawful permanent residents (LPRs) or green card holders are Haitians while 50 percent of all Haitians were naturalized citizens.

5: The first documented wave of Haitian immigration to the U.S. began in the early 1930s, when the then Immigration and Naturalization Service began tracking Haitians as a distinct group of Caribbean immigrants. By the 1950s and ’60s, the numbers surged, as droves of the Haitian elite escaped the dictatorship of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

6: Most Haitians live in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia and Maryland.

7: More than 40 percent of immigrant adults (ages 16 and older) from Haiti were employed in service occupations, compared to 25 percent of all immigrant adults. About 79 percent of Haitian immigrants were of working age (18-64) while close to 14 percent were ages 65 and older in 2012. The median age for Haitian immigrants was 45 years; slightly older than the overall foreign-born population (43 years).

8: Approximately 18 percent of Haitian immigrants in the United States ages 25 and over had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

9: Haitians and Haitian Americans are making their political mark in the U.S. with several serving in top elected posts across the country. They included NYS State Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean Pierre, who is Haitian American; Councilmember Charnette Orelien of NJ who was born in Haiti, Marie St. Fleur, and Haiti-born State Representative, Massachusetts (D-5th Suffolk).

10: Several top U.S. celebrities are Haitians or of Haitian ancestry. They include singers Jason Derulo and Wyclef Jean; actresses Garcelle Beauvais, Zoe Saldana and Meta Golding who has played in films like the Hunger Games: Catching Fire and actor Jimmy Jean Louis.