By Jo Haselhoef
WISCONSIN — Nearly 1.1 million people of Haitian ancestry live in the United States, according to the latest Census Bureau data available on residents’ race and origins. And with Haitian communities throughout the United States participating in Haitian Heritage Month celebrations, it’s worth revisiting the most recent available data about Haitians in the country.
Keep in mind, these estimated figures may be an undercount of the actual number, as experts have said. For one, they do not include data from the most recent 2020 survey held during the pandemic. Nor do they include Haitian refugees who arrived via the U.S.-Mexico border in 2021. Some metro areas may overlap with the cities listed below. For additional details, check the tables for your area.
Despite these limitations, here’s a breakdown of the estimated number of Haitian-Americans in the U.S.
- Total U.S. population with Haitian ancestry: 1,084,455
That’s a 14 percent increase from 2015 data collected, 33 percent in 2010
- The Haitian population has expanded from the original metro centers of New York, Miami and Boston to other metro areas.
- Notable metro areas and cities with major or growing Haitian populations include:
- Haitians in U.S. by age:
- 18 and under: 293,564
- Between 18 and 34: 299,657
- Between 35 and 64: 385,038
- 65 and over: 106,191
- Place of birth of Haitians in U.S.
- Born in the U.S.: Fewer than 484,938
- Haitians born outside U.S.: 599,517
- Haitian-American citizenship
- Number of Haitians who are not U.S. citizens: 232,389
- Number of Haitians who are naturalized citizens: 367,128
Population figures for other areas with burgeoning Haitian populations, such as Indianapolis and Atlanta, are not yet available. They will be available in the upcoming American Community Survey (ACS) data tables for 2016-2020, according to the agency.
How the Haitian ancestry data is collected
This information came from the 2019 American Community Survey, an arm of the U.S. Census Bureau that gathers some inputs every year and others every five years. The survey complements and expands on the census completed every 10 years that focuses on people and housing units.
“2020 wreaked havoc on the Census Bureau,” said Carol Miller of the Data Dissemination and Training Branch in Washington, D.C. “Just as the bureau set out to collect data door-to-door, the COVID pandemic hit.”
Information about the U.S. Haitian population offered by the ACS is selectable by year and sometimes location. Details such as fertility, veterans and disabilities are among many of the characteristics gathered.
Census 2020 asked about the race of each person living or staying in a house, apartment or mobile home. Responders selected from one or more groupings, which included Black or African American. The Census recipient then wrote a more detailed description — such as African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian or Somali.
ACS compiles data differently. It randomly selects an address representative of the community and generates a survey for receipt through the mail. “We don’t do it by people, we do it by address,” Miller said.
The first month, the recipient gets a form in the mail and, hopefully, sends it back.
“The second month, if we don’t get the survey back, we’ll see if we can find a phone number,” Miller said. “And if we still don’t have any information from that address, in the third month we’ll send a door knocker.”
ACS continues the process for five years, putting the numbers gathered into a database. “I can sit at a computer,” Miller said, “push a couple of buttons, and have tables of information available in a matter of seconds.”
CORRECTION (May 12): This story has been updated to correct the figures about the locations published in the original on May 11. It now shows ACS data gathered in 2015 and 2010 for select metropolitan areas and cities seeing changes in the Haitian population.