Profile of Haitian immigrants and workers

Per the Migration Policy Institute, the United States is home to about 535,000 Haitian immigrants — the largest concentration in any single country of Haitians abroad. As the country descended into chaos following the collapse of the Duvalier dictatorship in the late 1980s, Haitians began arriving in the United States in large numbers. Many received humanitarian protection. Between 1980 and 2000, the Haitian-born population residing in the United States more than quadrupled from 92,000 to 419,000.
The Haitian immigrant population in the United States has continued to grow since 2000, although at a slower rate. Recent natural disasters in Central America and the Caribbean have pushed large numbers of migrants to the United States and in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, emigration pressures from the devastated country are likely to grow.
The Haitian diaspora in the United States has also traditionally played an important role in assisting Haiti recover from natural disasters. More than half of all Haitian immigrants resided in just two states, Florida and New York, although they are also concentrated in New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Haitian immigrant women were more likely to participate in the civilian labor force than foreign-born women overall.
In 2008, Haitian-born women age 16 and older (71.7 percent) were more likely to participate in the civilian labor force than all foreign-born women (57.1 percent) overall. Haitian-born men were about equally as likely to be in the civilian labor force (80.7 percent) as foreign-born men overall (80.6 percent).
Nearly half of employed Haitian-born men worked in services or in construction, extraction, and transportation.
Among the 168,000 Haitian-born male workers age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 26.1 percent reported working in services and 22.3 percent reported working in construction, extraction, or transportation (see Table 2). By contrast, among the 13.6 million foreign-born male workers age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 17.4 percent reported working in services and 25.9 percent reported working in construction, extraction, or transportation.
Over one of every four employed Haitian-born women worked in healthcare support.
Among the 182,000 Haitian-born female workers age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 27.2 percent reported working in healthcare support occupations and 22.7 percent reported working in service occupations (see Table 2). By contrast, among the 9.5 million foreign-born female workers age 16 and older employed in the civilian labor force in 2008, 5.4 percent reported working in healthcare support and 25.7 percent reported working in service occupations.
Haitian immigrants were less likely to live in poverty than other immigrant groups.
The poverty rate among Haitian immigrant families was 12.9 percent in 2008, lower than the poverty rate among all foreign born families (14.9 percent). The difference was even larger among immigrant families headed by a female householder with no spouse present. Among Haitian immigrant households headed by a female with no husband present, the poverty rate was 20.8 percent in 2008, compared to 30.7 percent for all immigrants.
Legal and Unauthorized Haitian Immigrant Population
There were about 230,000 Haitian lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in 2008.
There were about 230,000 Haitian-born lawful permanent residents (LPRs) in the United States in 2008, about 1.8 percent of the estimated total 12.6 million LPRs.
Based on the 2000 Census, the federal government estimated that there were 76,000 unauthorized Haitian immigrants living in the United States.
The most recent published estimates from the Department of Homeland Security, based on analysis of the 2000 Census, suggest that the unauthorized immigrant population from Haiti grew from 67,000 in 1990 to 76,000 in 2000. Haitians accounted for 1.1 percent of all unauthorized immigrants in the United States in 2000, the 11th-largest unauthorized immigrant group in the country.

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