Colombia: Colombian Population in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD Metropolitan Areas

Colombia: Colombian Population in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD Metropolitan Areas

Colombian population in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metropolitan areas: There are approximately 22,600 Colombian immigrants living in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metro areas. The largest numbers of Colombian immigrants are found in Montgomery County, MD (7,220), the District of Columbia (1,985) and Loudoun County, VA (1,382).

Overall, when compared to all other immigrants in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metro areas, immigrants from Colombia tend to have higher levels of education and are more likely to be naturalized citizens. However, foreign born from Colombia are less likely to be proficient in English and slightly more likely to live in poverty compared to all other immigrants in the two metro areas.

Among Colombian immigrants, 43 percent are male and 57 percent are female. Foreign-born individuals from Colombia are less likely to be to be proficient in English than all other foreign-born individuals. Specifically, 58 percent of Colombian immigrants are proficient in English compared to 62 percent of all other foreign born. Forty-nine percent of foreign-born Colombians are naturalized U.S. citizens, compared to 52 percent of all other foreign-born individuals. Their median number of years in the United States is 16 years and the median age of all foreign born from Colombia is 45.

Colombian population in the United States: The absolute number of foreign-born individuals from Colombia in the United States has increased over time. As a percentage of the immigrant population, it remained stable until 2000 and then there was a slight increase beginning in 2010. Before the 2000s, immigrants from Colombia constituted one percent of the total immigrant population. In 1970, there were approximately 65,400 Colombian immigrants in the country. In 1980, the number of Colombian immigrants increased to 155,300, and by 1990 it grew to 276,616. In 1990, immigrants from Colombia constituted one percent of the total immigrant population.

Today, 793,114 Colombian immigrants constitute two percent of the total foreign-born population of the United States. The largest numbers of Colombian immigrants in the United States are found in the Miami, FL (182,979), the New York, NY (178,374), and the Orlando, FL (33,493) metropolitan areas.

Education, Income and Housing: In terms of educational attainment, Colombian immigrants in the DC and Baltimore metro areas are more likely to have some college or an Associate’s degree compared to all other foreign-born individuals. Specifically, 23 percent of the foreign-born from Colombia have some college or Associate’s degree, compared to 18 percent of all other immigrants.

When looking the median family and personal income, immigrants from Colombia in the DC and Baltimore metro areas, are more likely to earn more – median family income ($80,150) and median personal earned income ($52,369)- compared to all other foreign born – median family income ($75,200) and median personal earned income ($51,321) but less compared to native-born U.S. citizens – median family income ($87,283) and median personal earned income ($68,803).

The majority of the foreign-born Colombians in the DC and Baltimore metro areas have health insurance (86 percent) compared to 90 percent of all other immigrants in these two metro areas.

Colombian immigrants are slightly more likely to be homeowners (57 percent) compared to the rest of the foreign-born population (56 percent) but less likely compared to native-born U.S. citizens (66 percent) in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metro areas. Higher homeownership rates among Colombian immigrants are consistent with higher incomes, higher level of education.

Employment and Occupation: The unemployment rate for Colombians was relatively low in 2018 (5 percent), which was the same rate as that of all other foreign-born and native-born population. Colombian immigrants are less likely to be employed in STEM occupations in comparison to all other foreign born and native-born U.S. citizens. Colombian immigrants in the Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metro areas are more likely to be employed in service occupations (27 percent) compared to all other foreign born (23 percent) and native born (14 percent). Additionally, foreign born from Colombia are more likely to work in education, legal, community service, arts, and media (13 percent) and office and administrative support (12 percent) occupations compared to all other foreign born in the two metro areas. 

Colombian immigrants in the DC and Baltimore metro areas are slightly more likely to be self-employed and not incorporated (9 percent) compared to all other foreign born (6 percent). The foreign born from Colombia and all other foreign born have equal rates of incorporated self-employment (4 percent), meaning that they have their own businesses. The median income for self-employed Colombian immigrants in the DC and Baltimore metro areas is $33,026, which is lower than the median income for self-employed foreign-born individuals ($41,895) and native born ($68,769).