Fast-Growing Dominican Population on Track To Become Largest Latino Group in New York City

December 6, 2010 | CUNY Graduate Center

The Latino Data Project, which makes information available on the growing Latino population of the United States and especially New York City, has released its 2010 series of reports covering five national subgroups — Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Brazilians, Peruvians, and Colombians. The reports are available for downloading on the Web site of the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at http://web.gc.cuny.edu/lastudies . They are based on the analysis of extant data available from a variety of sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Institute for Health, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and state- and local-level data sources.

Among the findings:

• Between 1990 and 2008 the Dominican population of New York City, which grew by nearly 73%, increased at approximately twice the rate of the city’s overall Latino population and became the second-largest Latino subgroup behind Puerto Ricans. This was due largely to increases in the domestic-born Dominican population. Dominicans will surpass Puerto Ricans to become the city’s largest Latino nationality sometime within the next 15 years, if the annual growth rates of both groups between 1990 and 2008 continues. While an extraordinary 61% of all Dominican adults had not completed high school in 1990, this fell to 44% in 2008. Also, the college graduation rate doubled from about 6% of all adults in 1990 to 12% in 2008. And domestic-born Dominican women in particular made great strides in educational attainment, with over one-third completing a Bachelor’s degree or better in 2008. Nevertheless, despite gains between 1990 and 2008, Dominican median household income still ranked lowest among the city’s five largest Latino groups.

• By 2008 as many Puerto Ricans lived in the U.S. — about 4 million, two-thirds of whom were born on the U.S. mainlaind — as lived in Puerto Rico. The greatest concentration of them, outside of New York/New Jersey in 2008, was in Florida. When income is used as an indicator, there was a very clear and stratified social structure among Puerto Ricans in the U.S. About one-third of the households earned more than $75,000 in 2008, and about 20% earned more than $100,000. Yet 20% earned less than $20,000 in 2008. In 1980 only 6% of all Puerto Ricans 25 years of age and older had achieved a B.A. degree or higher. This increased to almost 19% in 2008. Over the same time frame the percentage of non-high school graduates fell from 60% to 25%.

• The Peruvian population of the U.S. increased dramatically between 1980 and 2008 from about 70,000 to over 550,000 people. Migration from Peru increased in each decade, and there is no reason to believe that it will decrease in the near future. Peruvians have relatively high median household incomes and the lowest poverty rates compared with other race/ethnic groups in the U.S. and other Latino subgroups. These favorable socioeconomic indicators — median household income and poverty — are linked to the extraordinarily impressive educational attainment of the adult Peruvian population. In 2008 a greater percentage of adult Peruvians had graduated college than the percentage of non-Hispanic whites.

• The Brazilian population of the U.S. increased from about 56,000 in 1980 to slightly over 454,000 in 2007. Most of this increase was the result of migration, which has accelerated significantly since the 1990s and which is projected to continue into the future, regardless of economic fluctuations in the U.S. A major stimulus to out-migration from Brazil is the fact that many of relatively highly educated migrants possess skills which command salaries in the U.S. significantly higher than found in the same professions within Brazil.

The Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies is a research institute that works for the advancement of the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos in the United States in the doctoral programs at the CUNY Graduate Center. One of its major priorities is to provide funding and research opportunities to Latino students at the Ph.D. level. It has also established and helps administer an interdisciplinary specialization in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies in the Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies program. For additional information, contact the Center at 212-817-8438 or by email at clacls@gc.cuny.edu.

The Graduate Center is devoted primarily to doctoral studies and awards most of the City University of New York’s Ph.D.s. An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to more than thirty interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events. Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at www.gc.cuny.edu.

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MEDIA CONTACT: David Manning, (212) 817-7177 or 7170, dmanning@gc.cuny.edu