Haitian Americans

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Haitian Americans
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable Andreas 1884.jpg
Brigadier General René Edward De Russy.jpg
WEB DuBois 1918.jpg
(Portrait of Josephine Premice, Village Vanguard, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1947) (LOC) (5436422514) (cropped).jpg
Richard gleaves.jpg
John James Audubon 1826.jpg
Mia Love official congressional photo.jpg
Jimmy Jean-Luis LF.JPG
Jason-Derulo by-Adam-Bielawski 2010-01-12.jpg
Elvis Dumervil 2011.JPG
Reggie Fils-Aime - Game Developers Conference 2011 - Day 2 (1).jpg
TravisMcCoy2007 (cropped).jpg
Dawn 29.jpg
Jozy Altidore USMNT with dog tag.jpg
Maxwell in toronto.jpg
Blake Griffin with ball 20131118 Clippers v Grizzles.jpg
Marjorie vincent.jpg
Colonel Rudolph Moise official AIr Force photo.JPG
Josaphat-Robert Large 2.jpg
Total population
0.29% of the U.S. population (2013)[1] Location of Haiti)
Regions with significant populations
South Florida metropolitan area, Orlando, New York City, New Jersey, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C.
English, French, Haitian Creole
Predominantly Roman Catholicism
with considerable adherents of
Protestantism · Mormonism · Jehovah's Witnesses.
Related ethnic groups
Americans, Haitians, Haitian Canadians, French American, Louisiana Creoles

Haitian Americans (French: haïtien américain; Haitian Creole: ayisyen ameriken) are Americans of Haitian descent. The largest proportion of Haitians live in the South Florida area and cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Tampa, and Orlando.

In 2009 the US Census estimated that there are 830,000 Haitian Americans living in the U.S.[3] During the early 1960s and the 1970s, many Haitians emigrated to the U.S. during the family dictatorships of François "Papa Doc" and Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.


During the 18th century, the French colony of Saint-Domingue was the richest in the Caribbean, due to its massive production of sugar cane. This wealth was concentrated in the hands of a small minority of planters, who used slave labor of Sub-Saharan African origin to harvest their crops. Beginning in 1791, slaves (who formed about 90 percent of the population) revolted against their masters and succeeded in forcing France to abolish slavery.

When France attempted later to reintroduce slavery, the former slaves again revolted and won their independence in 1804 as the Republic of Haiti. The rebellion proved disruptive to the country's economy, however, as it spurred an exodus of wealthy colonists, both white and non-white. Many of these emigrated to the United States, particularly to the New Orleans region where they augmented the existing French-speaking population. Though France and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean (Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico) were other major destinations for many immigrants, the United States was a much more popular destination.

While the earliest emigrants from Haiti tended to be from the upper classes, persistent conditions of poverty, as well as political unrest, eventually prodded many lower-class Haitians to emigrate as well. Altogether, there have been four periods of major migration to the United States in the history of Haiti: the initial wave at the turn of the 19th century, the U.S. occupation, the Duvalier regime, and the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

20th century

Between 1957 and 1986, when the Duvaliers ruled Haiti, the political persecution that Haitians suffered caused many Haitian professionals, the middle class, and students emigrated to others countries. Haitians sought political asylum or permanent resident status in many countries such as the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, France, Dominican Republic and Canada (primarily Montreal). Between 1977 and 1981, 60,000 Haitians landed in South Florida, many of them settling to the neighborhood of Little Haiti.

In the late 20th century, there was also a significant brain drain from Haiti as thousands of Haitian doctors, teachers, social workers and entrepreneurs moved from Haiti to New York and Miami. Haitians also began working in restaurants and music stores. In 1986, 40,000 Haitians who came to the United States seeking political asylum achieved permanent resident status. In 1991, there was another wave of Haitian boat people. However, under the government of Bill Clinton, many were not allowed to reach the shores of the United States. They were either detained and/or sent back to Haiti. Between 1995 and 1998, 50,000 Haitians obtained temporary legal status.[4]

Immigration today

Political strife, marked with corruption, and intimidation led to many Haitians leaving the island for an opportunity of a better life. In addition, vast disparities between the Haitian wealthy elite and the poor originated in Haiti and continue to exist for many Haitian Americans in the United States.Waves of Haitians made it to the shores of Florida seeking asylum. Most of the foreign-born Haitians arrived during the 1970s. Haitian immigration to United States started with the exodus of most French settlers in Haiti.

Today, Florida has the largest number of people of Haitian heritage. In 2000, Florida had 182,224 foreign-born Haitians, 43.5% of the total foreign-born population from Haiti (excluding the number of American-born Haitians). New York had the second largest population of foreign-born Haitians with 125,475, approximately 30%. Haitian illegal immigrants attempting to reach the shores of Florida are routinely swept up by the United States Coast Guard and often repatriated. This has led to many civil rights group protests regarding the treatment they receive, in contrast to the asylum granted (see: wet feet, dry feet policy) to their Cuban counterparts.


Language and religion

Most Haitian immigrants who have traveled to the United States (particularly the more recent individuals) communicate in Haitian Creole and are either familiar with, or learn English. In Haiti, although French is an official language that is widely spoken and understood, most Haitians speak Creole, (a language where over 90% of its vocabulary is of French origin with some influences from Portuguese, Spanish, Taíno, and West African languages.) in their daily lives. Most descendants of Haitians and Haitian immigrants living in America speak English fluently.

Religiously, most Haitian Americans, like their counterparts in Haiti, are Roman Catholics. There are also smaller Protestant and Mormon communities of Haitian Americans. A significant population of Haitian American Jehovah's Witnesses also exist. Some individuals practice the faith of Vodoun, either in combination with Christianity or separately. Religion is very important in the life of Haitian Americans.[4]

Adjustment and communities

The Haitians that emigrated to the United States brought many of their cultural practices and ideologies into their communities. Many foreign-born Haitians go into the business sector, often setting up their own businesses. This includes the establishment of barbershops and individually owned restaurants (predominately of Haitian cuisine).

Haitian Americans have a visible cultural presence in Little Haiti, Miami, and several nearby communities, such as Golden Glades and North Miami. Other significant Haitian-American communities are found in several neighborhoods of New York City, such as Flatbush (Nostrand), East Flatbush, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, Laurelton, Park Slope, Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Harlem, Cambria Heights, Rosedale and Canarsie, Brooklyn of Brooklyn and Elmont, Long Island, have a significant Haitian American influence.

The Mattapan section of Boston is considered the main center of Haitians in the city. Growing Haitian communities have also formed in smaller cities in the Northeast especially Providence, Rhode Island. Haitian influence is sometimes marked by the everyday conversations between people in Haitian Creole on the streets. Second-generation Haitian Americans are generally more successful in terms of higher-paying occupations, and significantly better off in terms of level of education. Several Haitian-Americans have become professional athletes, mostly in the National Football League.

There is also significant Haitian populations in the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.[5] In Puerto Rico, Haitians receive refugee asylum, similar to the Wet feet, dry feet policy for Cubans going to Florida.[6][7]


Since the 1980s, a new generation of young Haitian immigrants and Haitian immigrant children have populated the nation’s schools and communities, proving to be the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse segment of America’s child population.[8] These Haitian (American) youth are very diverse in the ways that they identify with Haiti and participate within their different communities.[9]

These youth vary between those who were born of immigrant parents, those who immigrated as small children, those who moved recently due to extreme factors (such as the 2010 earthquake), and those who have simply come to attend colleges and Universities. Many scholars refer to these Haitian youth as the “new second generation.”[10] These scholars argue that the process of claiming an identity (or identity formation) among Haitian youth can be attributed to many different factors including first generation modes of adaption, parental socio-economic status, length and place of residency, certain social constructions of a pluralistic American society (such as racism), as well as others.[11]

Education is a significant factor in the lives of Haitian American youth, particular as many aspire towards certain professions like medicine and law that will enable them to give back to their communities.[12] It is important to note that many Haitian youth that immigrate have been trained in top Haitian middle schools, high schools, and colleges that aptly prepare them for such pursuits. Because of this, many Haitian youth come to the United States just to matriculate on to college. (See Harvard University’s Haitian Student Association for an example of a strong group of Haitian American and Haitian students who take pride in their culture while attending University). In other cases, parents who do not have access to these schools in Haiti may move to the United States to offer their children better opportunities.[13]

Finally, Haitian American youth creatively express themselves in different ways. For many, creative expression allows a certain connection to home (to Haiti) that keeps them bound to their roots and allows them to maintain a sense of pride for their country while abroad. This expression includes speaking the languages (French and Haitian Creole) in friend circles and in places such as home and church. It also includes cooking traditional Haitian food, following Haitian music and musicians, and participating in Haitian styles of dance. These aspects of creative expression allow Haitian youth to maintain a strong tie to their Haitian communities that, while informed by an American experience, also adds elements and nuances to American culture.


US states with largest Haitian populations

According to the 2010 US Census, there were 881,488 Haitian Americans.[14]

The 10 U.S. states with the largest Haitian populations are:

  1. Florida - 424,101
  2. New York - 190,718
  3. Massachusetts - 73,201
  4. New Jersey - 49,340
  5. Pennsylvania - 21,178
  6. Georgia - 20,782
  7. Connecticut - 18,628
  8. Maryland - 12,148
  9. Illinois - 7,409
  10. California - 6,766

US metropolitan areas with largest Haitian populations

The largest populations of Haitians are situated in the following metropolitan areas (Source: Census 2010):[14]

  1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA - 308,605
  2. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA-CT MSA - 222,193
  3. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA - 65,658
  4. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL MSA - 36,443
  5. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA - 17,884
  6. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA MSA - 17,693
  7. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT MSA - 12,094
  8. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA - 11,554
  9. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA - 10,187
  10. Jacksonville, FL MSA - 7,767

High percentages of Haitian ancestry by community

The 36 U.S. communities with the highest percentage of people claiming Haitian ancestry are:[15]

 % Community State
33.5% Golden Glades Florida
33.0% North Miami Florida
23.0% El Portal Florida
23.0% Spring Valley New York
19.9% North Miami Beach Florida
15.7% Lauderdale Lakes Florida
14.5% Lake Park Florida
13.9% Ives Estates Florida
13.8% Immokalee Florida
12.1% Pine Hills Florida
11.5% Belle Glade Florida
11.4% Orange New Jersey
11.3% New Cassel New York
11.1% Irvington New Jersey
10.8% North Valley Stream New York
10.7% Elmont New York
10.5% Delray Beach Florida
9.2% Biscayne Park Florida
9.2% Mangonia Park Florida
9.1% Lauderhill Florida
8.5% Uniondale New York
8.3% Miami Shores Florida
8.1% Lake Worth Florida
8.0% Roselle New Jersey
7.8% Nyack New York
7.6% South Nyack New York
7.0% Ramapo New York
7.0% Oakland Park Florida
6.9% Fort Lauderdale Florida
6.7% Florida City Florida
6.7% North Lauderdale Florida
6.7% Wilton Manors Florida
6.5% Boynton Beach Florida
6.4% Asbury Park New Jersey
6.4% Fort Pierce Florida
6.2% Randolph Massachusetts
6.0% Miramar Florida

High percentages of Haitian birth by community

The 100 U.S. communities with the most residents born in Haiti are:[16]

  1. Pompano Estates, FL 26.6%
  2. North Miami, FL 24.3%
  3. Golden Glades, FL 24.1%
  4. Kendall Green, FL 21.2%
  5. Tedder, FL 20.9%
  6. Pinewood, FL 18.5%
  7. Bonnie Loch-Woodsetter North, FL 16.6%
  8. Spring Valley, NY 16.4%
  9. Loch Lomond, FL 15.6%
  10. Hillcrest, NY 14.7%
  11. El Portal, FL 14.0%
  12. North Miami Beach, FL 13.8%
  13. Melrose Park, FL 11.5%
  14. Lauderdale Lakes, FL 11.2%
  15. Belle Glade Camp, FL 10.7%
  16. Immokalee, FL 10.5%
  17. Delray Beach, FL 10.3%
  18. Lake Park, FL 10.1%
  19. Belle Glade, FL 10.1%
  20. Naples Manor, FL 9.6%
  21. Leisureville, FL 9.1%
  22. Ives Estates, FL 9.1%
  23. New Cassel, NY 9.0%
  24. Biscayne Park, FL 8.8%
  25. Twin Lakes, FL 8.7%
  26. Norland, FL 8.5%
  27. Pine Hills, FL 8.4%
  28. Orange, NJ 8.4%
  29. Lake Worth, FL 8.1%
  30. Irvington, NJ 8.1%
  31. Westview, FL 8.0%
  32. Oak Ridge, FL 7.8%
  33. North Valley Stream, NY 7.8%
  34. Elmont, NY 7.6%
  35. South Nyack, NY 7.1%
  36. Lantana, FL 6.4%
  37. Boynton Beach, FL 6.4%
  38. Lauderhill, FL 6.4%
  39. Wilton Manors, FL 6.4%
  40. Miami Shores, FL 6.2%
  41. Mangonia Park, FL 6.2%
  42. Roselle, NJ 6.2%
  43. East Garden City, NY 5.9%
  44. Fort Lauderdale, FL 5.9%
  45. Uniondale, NY 5.8%
  46. Nyack, NY 5.8%
  47. Asbury Park, NJ 5.6%
  48. Ramapo, NY 5.4%
  49. Collier Manor-Cresthaven, FL 5.3%
  50. Fort Pierce, FL 5.3%
  51. Oakland Park, FL 5.3%
  52. Westgate-Belvedere Homes, FL 5.3%
  53. Whitfield, FL 5.2%
  54. Broadview-Pompano Park, FL 5.2%
  55. North Lauderdale, FL 5.1%
  56. Randolph, MA 4.9%
  57. Pompano Beach, FL 4.8%
  58. St. Leo, FL 4.8%
  59. Lake Forest, FL 4.5%
  60. Scott Lake, FL 4.4%
  61. Inwood, FL 4.4%
  62. Golden Gate, FL 4.3%
  63. Wyandanch, NY 4.3%
  64. Breckinridge Center, KY 4.3%
  65. Seminole Manor, FL 4.2%
  66. South Floral Park, NY 4.1%
  67. Lakeview, NY 4.0%
  68. Miramar, FL 4.0%
  69. Wheatley Heights, NY 3.9%
  70. Miami, FL 3.9%
  71. Brockton, MA 3.9%
  72. Fort Myers, FL 3.8%
  73. Lake Belvedere Estates, FL 3.8%
  74. Pine Manor, FL 3.7%
  75. Pompano Beach Highlands, FL 3.7%
  76. Andover, FL 3.7%
  77. East Orange, NJ 3.6%
  78. West Little River, FL 3.5%
  79. West Palm Beach, FL 3.5%
  80. Maplewood, NJ 3.4%
  81. Rodney Village, DE 3.3%
  82. Pomona, NY 3.2%
  83. Northwest Dade, FL 3.2%
  84. Pembroke Park, FL 3.2%
  85. Baldwin, NY 3.1%
  86. Naranja, FL 3.1%
  87. Florida City, FL 3.2%
  88. Miami Gardens, Broward County, FL 3.1%
  89. Lake Worth Corridor, FL 3.0%
  90. Pine Castle, FL 3.0%
  91. Homestead, FL 3.0%
  92. St. George, FL 3.0%
  93. Pleasantville, NJ 3.0%
  94. West Haverstraw, NY 2.9%
  95. Nanuet, NY 2.8%
  96. Roosevelt, NY 2.8%
  97. Deerfield Beach, FL 2.8%
  98. East Perrine, FL 2.8%
  99. Linden, NJ 2.7%
  100. Everett, MA 2.7%

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". census.gov.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/acsbr09-18.pdf
  4. 4.0 4.1 Felix Eme Unaeze and Richard E. Perrin. "A Countries and Their Cultures: Haitian Americans". Countries and their cultures. Retrieved December 26, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "'Third Border' Crisis: Number Of Haitian Migrants Heading To Puerto Rico Jumps - Fox News Latino". Rapadoo Observateur.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The Other Border: Puerto Rico's Seas - Latino USA". Latino USA.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Desperate Crossings". google.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Butterfield, Sherri-Ann P.. “‘We’re Just Black’: The Racial and ethnic identities of second generation West Indians in New York By.” In Becoming New Yorkers: Ethnographies of the New Second Generation, edited by Kasinitz, Philip, John H. Mollenkopf, and Mary C. Waters, 288-312. New York: Russell Sage, 2004.
  9. Zéphir, Flore. Trends in Ethnic Identification among Second-generation Haitian Immigrants in New York City. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 2001.
  10. Zhou, Min. "Growing up American: The Challenge Confronting Immigrant Children and Children of Immigrants." Annual review of sociology (1997): 63-95.
  11. Kasinitz, Philip, John H. Mollenkopf, and Mary C. Waters. Becoming New Yorkers: Ethnographies of the New Second Generation. New York: Russell Sage, 2004. Also see: Waters, Mary C. "Ethnic and Racial Identities of Second-Generation Black Immigrants in New York City." International Migration Review (1994): 795-820. Also see: Waters, Mary C.. “The Intersection of Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in Identity Development of Caribbean American Teens.” In Urban Girls: Resisting Stereotypes, Creating Identities, edited by Leadbeater, Bonnie J. Ross, and Niobe Way, 65-84. New York: New York UP, 1996.
  12. Schmid, Carol L. "Educational Achievement, Language-Minority Students, and the New Second Generation." Sociology of Education (2001): 71-87.
  13. Desir, Charlene. “Lot Bo Dlo: Across Waters.” PhD diss., Harvard University, 2006.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). "American FactFinder - Results". census.gov.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Ancestry Map of Haitian Communities". Epodunk.com. Retrieved 2008-08-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "The 101 cities with the most residents born in Haiti (population 500+)". city-data.com. Retrieved 2008-08-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>