Approximately 90% of black Caribbeans in the United States come from five countries: Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. This is largely due to political instability in their native countries, enslavement, disease, or natural disasters.
The elite, low-skilled, and skilled professionals make up the largest percentage of immigrants as they look for better working conditions and a more peaceful environment that fosters growth. Here’s an overview of the five black Caribbean countries making up black immigrants in the U.S.
Who are Black Caribbean Immigrants?
Black Caribbeans are immigrants from the Caribbean Sea, its islands, and surrounding coasts. The region was home to the Amerindians (indigenous people of the Americas) before they were decimated by disease and enslavement by the European colonizers.
Black Caribbean Countries
Black Caribbeans account for a majority of the foreign-born black citizens in the U.S. The main Black Caribbean countries include:
Most black Caribbeans from Haiti are descendants of enslaved people brought to the U.S. to work on plantations. The other major Haitian migration happened in 1986, when natives escaped a three-decade-long dictatorship.
The regime had led to significant political and economic problems, causing citizens to flee. Another significant migration happened in 2010 after the devastating Haiti earthquake.
The U.S. government extended a Temporary Protected Status to Haitians to provide temporary relief from deportation.
The Dominican Republic
Black Caribbeans from the Dominican Republic make up the Hispanic community in the United States, after Cubans, Mexicans, and Salvadorans. The number of immigrants has grown exponentially over the last decade due to the political and economic upheaval in the Dominican Republic.
The assassination of Rafael Trujillo had caused political unrest making many middle-class workers, university students, and professors to leave for the United States. Dominican immigrants continue to move to the U.S. in overwhelming numbers decades later through familial channels.
Jamaicans also make up the Black Caribbean population in the United States. The largest Jamaican population lives in New York and Florida. They have influenced many aspects of the American culture from history, culinary feasts, and everyday life.
The United States has been a top destination for Cuban immigrants and Germany, Mexico, Canada, and Italy. Immigration started in the 1960s after Cuba’s U.S.-backed regime was ousted. The elite class moved to the U.S. as political refugees, followed by the middle and lower-class Cubans.
It was then that Congress passed a law to allow Cubans to become lawful residents in the United States after staying in the country for a year. As a result, the Cuban population grew six-fold within a decade. However, changes in immigration policies have reduced the number of Cuban immigrants in the U.S. over time.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidadians and Tobagonians also make up the Black Caribbeans living in the U.S. They consist of people born in Trinidad and Tobago of different ethnic, religious, and national origins. As such, they don’t equate their nationality to a specific ethnicity.