Resources and information about Colombian communities 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 However, there are limited available historical references concerning Colombian immigrants to the United States.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.”

The Colombian Population of New York City, 1990 — 2008

This report describes demographic, social, economic, educational and political characteristics of the Colombian population of New York City, based on data from the 1990 and 2000 Decennial Censuses and the 2008 American Community Survey. The findings in this report focus in particular on contrasting the domestic-born and foreign-born components of the Colombian population, as well as differences by sex. (Haiwen Chu, 2010. Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies).

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)

Colombia: Country Study (1988)

“Like its predecessor, this study is an attempt to treat in a compact and objective manner the dominant social, political, economic, and military aspects of contemporary Colombia. Sources of information included scholarly books, journals, and monographs; official reports of governments and international organizations; numerous periodicals; and interviews with individuals having special competence in Colombian and Latin American affairs”. (Dennis M. Hanratty and Sandra W. Meditz, editors. Colombia: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1988. Preface)

Formal and Informal Associations: Dominicans and Colombians in New York (1979) 

New York plays very different roles in the emigration flows of Colombians and Dominicans. With insignificant exceptions, emigration for Dominicans, ir allá (to go there) means going to New York  A  large share of the migrants are peasants and agricultural laborers who formerly would have entered the internal rural-to-urban migration flow but now simply jump that stage. For Colombians, Venezuela is equivalent to New York. Using estimates of the total Colombian population in New York and Venezuela, it would seem that the former receives less than one-sixth of the Colombian emigrant flow. In contrast, New York receives an estimated 90 percent of the Dominican  population.” (Sassen-Koob, Saskia. International Migration Review 13.2, Summer 1979).