Caribbean Immigrant Population in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD Metro Areas

Caribbean Immigrant Population in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD Metro Areas

Caribbean population in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metropolitan areas: There are approximately 83,400 Caribbean immigrants living in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metro areas. The largest estimated numbers are from Jamaica (29,034), followed by Trinidad and Tobago (16,154), the Dominican Republic (13,814), Haiti (8,114), and Cuba (6,599).

The largest numbers of Caribbean immigrants are found in Prince George’s County, MD (22,965), Montgomery County, MD (16,797) and the District of Columbia (8,415). Sixty-four percent of them are naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 49 percent for all other foreign-born individuals. Cubans are more likely than all other immigrants from the Caribbean to be naturalized citizens; 77 percent of them are naturalized.

Among Caribbean immigrants, 45 percent are male and 55 percent are female. Eighty-six percent of Caribbean immigrants are proficient in English. Specifically, the foreign born from Jamaica (99 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (98 percent) and all other Caribbean countries (98 percent) are more likely to be highly proficiency in English than foreign born from Cuba (75 percent), the Dominican Republic (54 percent), Haiti (67 percent).This is the case because English is the official language in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and it is used in most domains of public life, including the government, the legal system, the media, and education.

Caribbean population in the United States: The absolute number of foreign-born individuals from the Caribbean in the United States has increased but, as a percentage of the immigrant population, they have remained stable since about 1980. In 1960, there were approximately 192,870 Caribbean immigrants in the country. In 1980, the number of Caribbean immigrants increased to 1,276,100, constituting 9 percent of the total immigrant population. Today, Caribbean immigrants still constitute 10 percent of the total foreign-born population of the United States (4,405,841).

Education, Income and Housing: In terms of educational attainment, the foreign-born from the Caribbean are more likely to have some college or associate’s degree compared to the rest of the foreign-born population. Specifically, 27 percent of foreign-born Caribbean population over 25 years old in the DC and Baltimore metro areas have some college or an associate’s degree. This is nine percentage points higher than all other foreign-born people in the DC and Baltimore metro areas with some college or associate’s degree, and 2 percentage points higher than native-born U.S. citizens.  

Immigrants from Cuba are more likely to have a graduate, professional, or Doctoral degree (23 percent) in comparison to the foreign born from Haiti (15 percent), the Dominican Republic (10 percent), Jamaica (16 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (13 percent) and all other Caribbean countries (19 percent). Immigrants from Haiti are more likely to have a Bachelor’s degree (20 percent) than immigrants from Cuba (19 percent), the Dominican Republic (16 percent), Jamaica (17 percent), Trinidad and Tobago (18 percent) and all other Caribbean countries (19 percent). Finally, foreign-born Dominicans are more likely to have a high school diploma or less (53 percent) than all other Caribbean immigrants.

The median earned income of Caribbean immigrants in the DC and Baltimore metro areas ($62,856) is lower than the median earned income of all other foreign born ($70,067) and native-born U.S. citizens ($81,350). Foreign born Cubans have a higher median personal earned income ($72,000) in comparison to foreign born from Haiti ($52,268), the Dominican Republic ($36,588), Jamaica ($50,690), Trinidad and Tobago ($47,041) and all other Caribbean countries ($58,800). Foreign born from the Dominican Republic have lower median personal earned income ($36,588) than all other Caribbean immigrants. 

Interestingly, Caribbean immigrants are slightly more likely to be homeowners in comparison to the rest of the foreign-born population, but less likely to be homeowners than native-born U.S. citizens in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metro areas. Specifically, foreign born from Cuba (69 percent) and Trinidad and Tobago (64 percent) are more likely be homeowners than all other foreign born from the Caribbean. Immigrants from the Dominican Republic (45 percent) are less likely to own a house in comparison to the all other groups.  

Employment and Occupation: The largest proportions of Caribbean immigrants in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metro areas are employed in office and administrative support occupations (13 percent), management, business, science, and arts occupations (10 percent), and sales and related occupations (8 percent). Caribbean immigrants are slightly less likely to be employed in STEM occupations in comparison to all other foreign born and native-born U.S. citizens. However, Caribbean immigrants are slightly more likely to be employed in STEM-related occupations such as healthcare and technical occupations, medical and health service managers, or architects than all other foreign-born workers and native-born U.S. citizens.

Caribbean immigrants in the DC and Baltimore metro areas are slightly less likely to be self-employed compared to all other foreign-born individuals. Interestingly, only five percent of Caribbean immigrants are self-employed and unincorporated and three percent of them are self-employed in their own incorporated business.

Overall, Cubans are more likely to be self-employed in comparison to Haitians, Jamaicans Dominicans, and immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago. Specifically, nine percent of foreign born Cubans are self-employed and not incorporated and 6 percent are self-employed in their own incorporated business. The foreign born from Jamaica are the least likely to be self-employed.

The median income for self-employed Caribbean immigrants is $40,000, which is almost the same with the median income for self-employed foreign-born individuals ($40,505). Self-employed Cuban immigrants tend to have higher median personal income ($61,823) in comparison to self-employed individuals from the other groups.