Resources and information about Colombian populations in America


“Colombian-Americans are people of Colombian descent (both immigrants and native born) who reside in the United States. Colombian immigrants were some of the first South Americans to settle in the United States (likely around the mid-19th century), and in the early 21st century, they make up the largest immigrant population from South America (about one million). The first identifiable Colombian immigrant communities were established in New York City after World War I. New York City and Miami have had the largest Colombian populations—following the general trend of South American migrants to reside mostly on the East Coast. Studies have examined the experience of Colombian-Americans dealing with the effects of demographic characteristics, immigration, the stigma of drug trafficking, levels of assimilation and acculturation, settlement locales, politics and political participation, language, US-Colombian relations, and culture. Although Colombian-Americans are the largest South American ethnic group in the United States, and are unique in many respects, studies often lump them under the “Latino” or “Hispanic” label, include them among a number of other groups, or exclude them altogether. This cursory treatment, in terms of broad categorization, is not unique to Colombian-Americans (most Latino-origin groups are labeled this way), but it does make it more difficult to disentangle the literature that may apply to or that examines this particular group.”

Colombian Diaspora in the United States

“The U.S.-based diaspora is Colombia’s largest source of remittances, accounting for an estimated $1.3 billion in transfers during 2012, and the United States is the second most common destination for Colombian emigrants, after Venezuela. In 2012, approximately $4.1 billion were remitted to Colombia worldwide, but these flows constituted a relatively low proportion of Colombia’s gross domestic product (GDP): 1.1 percent”.


Colombians in the United States: A Study of Their Well-Being

“The greatest number of immigrants who have entered the United States from South America are Colombians, accounting for 23.3 % of the overall South American-born population in the country (Acosta & De la Cruz, 2011). However, there are limited available historical references concerning Colombian immigrants to the United States. More specifically, there is little information regarding their immigrant experience and the factors that affect their well-being in the host country. In 1999 Guarnizo, Sanchez, and Roach stated that, “While Colombians constitute an important wave of immigrants; nonetheless they are an understudied ethnic group” (p. 5), and today, in 2013, they continue to be understudied.”

The Colombian Diaspora in South Florida

“Three significant conditions characterize the Colombian migration to the United States in the last few years. First, the migrants include a proportionally larger percentage of persons from the middle and upper-middle classes, including professionals from all sectors of Colombian society. Second, a larger proportion of the Colombian migrants are remaining in South Florida (Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties). Third, the latest wave of migrants does not intend to return to Colombia until the political and economic instability subsides. The impact of the increasing number of Colombian migrants in South Florida raises significant policy issues that U.S. federal and State of Florida decision-makers cannot long ignore.”

Switching of Ethnic Identification among New York City Latinos

“Within the hierarchy of ethnic groups in New York, Colombians enjoy favorable perceptions and treatment from other New Yorkers. Within Latino communities, their educational and professional status has marked them as respectable and even enviable… Outside of Latino communities, the fact that many Colombians are white means that they suffer from little discrimination. The lack of such an obstacle has undoubtedly contributed to their success…  Colombians see little need to invoke ethnicities other than Colombian; this identification is sufficiently advantageous outside of and within the Latino community.” (Negron, 2007, Cap 5, pp. 92-94)