By Charles Arthur
A new study published by the Washington-based Centre for Immigration Studies (CIS) has revealed that 6% of the 7.9 million immigrants who have moved to the United States in the last five years are from the Caribbean. Between 2000 and 2005, 467,000 Caribbean immigrants went to the United States.
Cuba accounted for the most immigrants with a total of 128,000. The Dominican Republic followed closely with 121,000, while Haiti and Jamaica followed with 91,000 and 62,000 respectively.
The report estimates that between 3.6 and 3.8 million, or almost half, of the 7.9 million new arrivals are illegal immigrants.
According to the CIS study, there are just over 35 million foreign-born people living in the United States. By far the largest number of foreign-born people - 10.8 million - have Mexico as their country of origin. Cuba is the country of origin for 948,000 people, the Dominican Republic for 695,000, Jamaica for 607,000, and Haiti for 570,000.
The report finds that immigrants to the United States experience considerably worse quality of life compared to those described as ?natives?. The poverty rate for immigrants and their US-born children (under 18) is 18.4%, compared to a rate of 11.7% for natives and their children.
Immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Haiti fare worse than the average for immigrants from all countries. Twenty-five per cent of immigrants from the Dominican Republic - 174,000 people - live in poverty. Over 20% of immigrants from Haiti - 117,000 people - live in poverty.
The main reason for the high poverty rates is given as poor education, leading to only poorly paid jobs. Of adult immigrants, 31% have not completed high school, three-and-a-half times the rate for natives. More than a third - 36.7% - of immigrants from the Dominican Republic have not completed high school. Immigrants from Haiti scored somewhat higher with only 27.2% of them not having completed their secondary education. The percentage for native-born inhabitants of the United States is 9%.
The CIS study also finds that one-third of all immigrants lack health insurance, making it difficult, if not impossible, to receive basic health care. Nearly 43% of immigrants from Haiti are uninsured, while the rate for those from the Dominican Republic is 30.5%.
The full report is available online at http://www.cis.org/