IIR Immigrant Stories from Central Asia

As part of the Institute for Immigration Research's (IIR) ongoing Immigrant Stories Initiative, Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) and Sociology Ph.D. student Umida Hashimova interviewed three immigrants from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in Spring 2024. The interviewees currently live in Baltimore (Maryland), New York City (New York), and Cincinnati (Ohio) and came to the United States between 2014 and 2022. Two of the immigrants work as long-haul truck drivers and the other works as a home health aide. Winning the green card lottery and seeking a change in their lives was what brought our interviewees to the States.

Our interviewees talked about challenges of understanding medical insurance and medical bills as well as high living expenses that basic jobs can’t support. All three of them said that learning the English language before and during their stay in the States was key to reaching a comfortable life. According to them, the language proficiency allows to reach a certain level of financial security and ensure comfort for immigrants’ living conditions.

Interview summaries and a detailed fact sheet on Central Asian immigrants are highlighted as part of the IIR's Immigrant Stories Initiative.

Overview of Central Asian Immigrants in the United States

There are a little more than 100,000 immigrants from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in the Unites States, comprising approximately 0.23% of the immigration population. The immigrants from these two countries primarily reside in New York, California, and Washington states. They began immigrating to the United States after 1990, and their numbers have been increasing with each census. The majority of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan immigrants find employment in sectors such as healthcare and social assistance, as well as transportation and warehousing. Central Asian immigrants outperformed other immigrants in terms of educational attainment, with only 7 percent lacking a high school diploma, compared to 27 percent of other immigrants.

Download the full fact sheet here.