Latin-Caribbean Immigrants vs. Afro-Caribbean Immigrants: How Race and Language Affect Occupation and Income


Scholars often regard the Caribbean as one unit, but there is an important dichotomy in this region: the Latin-Caribbean versus the Afro-Caribbean. Since the Latin-Caribbean is predominantly white and Spanish-speaking while the Afro-Caribbean is predominantly black and English-speaking, it is important to examine the Caribbean with this division in mind. Consequently, in this post, I seek to prove that American immigrants from the Latin-Caribbean have distinctly different experiences than their Afro-Caribbean counterparts. To show this, I compare the racial makeup, occupations, and incomes of Afro-Caribbean and Latin-Caribbean immigrants in the United States from 1950-2000. My data come from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), which takes census data and makes it publicly available for scholarly use. I reference IPUMS data to argue that race was responsible for most economic disadvantages that faced Afro-Caribbean immigrants at this time, while a factor that the census does not measure consistently—likely the ability to speak English—was the crucial factor for Latin-Caribbean immigrants.

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