Immigration Rate Among Highest In The World From This CARICOM Nation

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Guyanese immigrants make up a significant portion of the foreign-born population in NYC.
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News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. Oct. 27, 2020: A new report from a D.C. organization says immigration rate is one of the highest in the world from one CARICOM nation.

An analysis of the Guyanese Diaspora done by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), found that about 30,000 Guyanese leave the country annually, a sizable portion for a nation with a total population that has never reached one million.

‘The Guyanese Diaspora,’ published last month, says the number of Guyanese living abroad has increased since the 1960s. The report’s authors says the pull factor, represented by a growing number of Diaspora family members, has only helped to keep the immigration flow steady due to difficult economic conditions, a tense social and political environment, a weak educational system, high levels of insecurity, and an inefficient healthcare system.

The first-generation immigrant Guyanese Diaspora was put conservatively at 550,000 worldwide, not including their descendants.

The Guyanese Diaspora immigrants in 2019 were: North America, accounted for 80 percent of Guyanese immigrants worldwide; the Caribbean and Latin America, with 12.4 percent, the majority of whom reside in the Caribbean; and Northern Europe and the United Kingdom, with 5.9 percent.

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The report highlights that the United States continues to be the most popular destination for emigrating Guyanese. According to the report, it is estimated that over 400,000 people in the United States are Guyanese or of Guyanese ancestry with most of them residing in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Georgia, and Maryland, though smaller communities exist in other places, including Illinois, Minnesota, and California.

Canada, according to the report, has been another popular destination for Guyanese emigrants since the 1980s. In 2016, 88,570 people living in Canada reported Guyana as their country of birth, although some members of the diaspora estimate that Canada could be home to as many as 120,000 to 200,000 Guyanese.

Further, approximately 30,000 Guyanese live in the United Kingdom, mostly in the North East region, the East Midlands, and in the London metro area. Unlike the United States and Canada, the United Kingdom’s Guyanese immigrant demographic is mostly made up of well-established communities of older generations, given that its biggest immigration waves were in the early-1960s.

The report which was authored by Michael Matera, Linnea Sandin and Maripaz Alvarez, suggests a framework within which this valuable asset could be utilized for the benefit of both the Diaspora and their home country.