Just-released data from the 2020 United States census has revealed that Jamaicans make up half of the Caribbean population living in America.
The census data, which was released last week by the US Census Bureau showed that of the 46.7 million Black or African-American respondents, some 2.6 million people identified themselves as either being solely Caribbean or partially (mixed).
Of the 2.6 million people, some 1,047,117 people identified as Jamaican, while running close behind is Haiti with 1,032,737 people identifying as Haitian.
Some 194,364 identified as being Trinbagonian, and another 119,806 identified as being West Indian.
The number of respondents identified as being solely Caribbean was 2.1 million, with Jamaicans and Haitians together accounting for over 80 per cent of that group.
Caribbean inclusion in the US census
Interestingly, this is the first time that a U.S. Census has included Caribbean groups. Other new groups include German, Lebanese, Chinese, Native Hawaiian and Mexican as well as American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages like the Navajo Nation.
This latest census includes information about more than 200 detailed race and ethnic groups not tabulated from previous censuses. Previously, the Census Bureau released 2020 Census data on the Hispanic or Latino population and major race groups such as White, Black or African American, Asian, etc.
Chief of the Census Bureau’s Racial Statistics Branch, Rachel Marks explains, “these 2020 Census data illuminate the rich diversity across our nation…We have this comprehensive picture thanks to the millions of people who responded to the census and provided their detailed racial, ethnic or tribal identity, and thanks to the stakeholders, researchers and tribal leaders who helped us improve how we collect these detailed data.”
Jamaican-American population growing
The census confirms that the Jamaican diaspora in the United States is the largest Caribbean immigrant group. An estimate from the American Community Survey shows over 1.5 million people of Jamaican descent living in America.
Jamaican immigrants are found throughout the United States with significant communities in cities such as New York City, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, and Hartford. New York City, particularly the borough of Brooklyn, has one of the largest concentrations of Jamaican-Americans.
Jamaican migration to the United States has occurred in several waves. The earliest Jamaican immigrants came to the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. However, a significant increase in immigration occurred in the mid-20th century and continues to the present day.