People, Races, Ethnicity in the U.S. Dominican Americans

About the Dominican Americans in the U.S. including where they are from, why they left, how many there are, famous Dominican-Americans and more.


Where They Came From: They arrived from the Dominican Republic, which occupies the eastern two thirds of Hispaniola, a Caribbean island which lies between Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Why They Left: The income per capita in the Dominican Republic is minuscule, and the U.S. represents a land of imagined, if not real, opportunity. The death of dictator Rafael Trujillo Molina in 1961 signaled the end of controlled migration of relatively few Dominicans and the beginning of the period of mass migration that continues to the present day.

Where They Settled: Dominicans, unlike Puerto Ricans, are subject to the U.S. quota system. Consequently, a large number of potential Dominican immigrants travel first to Puerto Rico in an effort to make their way into the U.S. Many remain there, but the vast majority of Dominican immigrants do arrive on the U.S. mainland. There are over 100,000 scattered in Chicago, Massachusetts, and Florida, but New York City is the capital of the Dominican community in America.

Numbers: Because at least half of the Dominicans in the U.S. are illegals, estimates of the total immigrant population are guesswork. Most experts contend that the total Dominican population in the U.S. is from 500,000 to 650,000; for New York the figures range from 300,000 to 400,000.

Their Story in America: Scholars are only now beginning to trace the history of the pre-1964 Dominican immigrants. The new Dominican migrants have, for the most part, been over-shadowed by the massive presence of Puerto Rican Americans. The illegal status of so many Dominicans also contributes to their invisibility. The Dominicans currently share, with their island neighbors, the Haitians, the bottom rungs of the ladder in U.S. society.

Famous Dominican Americans: Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta; playboy Porfirio Rubirosa; baseball stars Juan Marichal, Cesar Cedeno, Manny Mota, Rico Carty, Cesar Geronimo, and the Alou brothers--Matty, Felipe, and Jesus.

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