Fact Sheet on Haitian Immigrants in the United States

By Steven A. Camarota January 2010

Contact: Steven Camarota, (202) 466-8185, sac@cis.org

Since the terrible tragedy in Haiti, many have sought information about the Haitian community in the United States. Below are some basic socio-demographic statistics:

  • The last Census Bureau data (2008) indicates there are 546,000 Haitian immigrants in the United States. That is up from 408,000 in 2000 and 218,000 in 1990.1

  • Of the 546,000 foreign-born Haitians in the United States, 48 percent are naturalized U.S. citizens; this compares to 43 percent for the overall foreign-born population.2

  • The top states of Haitian immigrant settlement are Florida (251,963; 46%), New York (135,836; 25%) New Jersey (43,316; 8%), Massachusetts (36,779; 7%), Georgia (13,287; 2%), and Maryland (11,266; 2%).3

  • Our best estimate is that there are 75,000 to 125,000 illegal Haitian immigrants in the country. In 2000, the INS estimated there were 76,000 illegal Haitian immigrants.4

  • When it extended Temporary Protected Status to Haitians, the Department of Homeland Security estimated 100,000 to 200,000 people could be eligible. While most are illegal immigrants, this estimate also includes those on temporary visas such as tourists, foreign students, and guest workers who will not have to go home.5

  • Between 2000 and 2008, 183,188 Haitians were given green cards (permanent residence). These figures do not include those who entered on a long-term, temporary basis such as guest workers and foreign students nor does it include short term visitors like tourists. Of those given permanent residence, 135,913 (74 percent) were admitted under family-based immigration.6

  • There are 310,000 U.S.-born Americans who have at least one parent born in Haiti.7

  • Of Haitian immigrants (ages 25 to 65) 22 percent have not graduated from high school and 18 percent have a college degree. This compares to 9 percent and 30 percent, respectively, for native-born Americans.8

  • The share of Haitian immigrants and their young children (under 18) living in poverty is 20 percent. For native-born Americans and their young children it is 11.6 percent.9

  • The share of Haitian immigrants and their young children who lack health insurance is 29.5 percent. For native-born Americans and their children it is 12.6 percent.10

  • Of households headed by Haitian immigrants 46 percent use at least one major welfare program. For households headed by native-born Americans it is 20 percent.11

  • The share of Haitian immigrants who own their own home is 49 percent. For native-born Americans it is 69 percent.12

End Notes

1 Figure for 1990 and 2000 come from the public use file of the 1990 and 2000 Census. See “Where Immigrants Live: An Examination of State Residency of the Foreign Born by Country of Origin in 1990 and 2000,” http://www.cis.org/ImmigrantsStateResidency. Figures for 2008 come from a Center for Immigration Studies analysis of the public use file of the American Community Survey.

2 Based on Center for Immigration Studies analysis of public use file of the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS).

3 Based on Center for Immigration Studies analysis of public use file of the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS).

4 For the INS estimates see Table 2 in “Estimates of the Unauthorized Immigrant Population Residing in the United States: 1990 to 2000,” http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/Ill_Report_12...

5 The TPS announcement and the estimated number who may be eligible can be found here: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7...

6 Office of Immigration Statistics annual year books 2000 to 2008, http://www.dhs.gov/files/statistics/publications/yearbook.shtm

7 Based on Center for Immigration Studies analysis of a combined sample of March 2008 and 2009 Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is the primary source for statistics on the labor force, income, poverty, welfare use, and health insurance in the United States. The CPS is smaller than the ACS, but it includes a question on birth place of mother and father. By using a two-year sample of the CPS we are able to get a more robust estimate of those born to Haitian immigrants in the US.

8 Based on Center for Immigration Studies analysis of public use file of the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS).

9 Based on a Center for Immigration Studies analysis of a combined two year sample (2008-2009) of the public use files of the March Current Population Survey (CPS). See endnote 5 for more information about the CPS. Figures for immigrants and their children are for immigrants from Haiti and their US-born children under age 18 who have a father born in Haiti. Figures of natives exclude the US-born children of immigrant fathers. Poverty figures are based on the official federal threshold.

10 Based on a Center for Immigration Studies analayis of a combined two year sample (2008-2009) of the public use files of the March Current Population Survey (CPS). For more explanation about the CPS see Footnote 7. Those lacking insurance indicated that they did not have health insurance for the entire calendar year prior to the survey. Figures for immigrants and their children are for immigrants from Haiti and their US-born children under age 18 who have father born in Haiti. Figures of natives exclude the US-born children of immigrant fathers.

11 Based on a Center for Immigration Studies analysis of a combined two-year sample (2008-2009) of the March Current Population Survey (CPS). For more explanation about the CPS see endnote 5. For cash programs (TANF & SSI) the use rate for Haitian immigrant households was 7 percent, for food assistance (food stamps, WIC or free lunch) the use rate was 28 percent, for housing (public housing & rent subsidies) the use rate was 8 percent, for Medicaid the use rate was 31 percent. It is important to note that a large share of welfare programs used by immigrant households are received on the behalf of their US-born children (under 18). The comparison figures for households headed by native-born Americans is 5 percent for cash programs, 11 for food programs, 4 percent for housing programs and 15 percent for Medicaid.

12 Based on Center for Immigration Studies analysis of the 2008 public use file of the American Community Survey. The figures represent the share of households headed by Haitian immigrants who own their own home.