Since June 2005, the month of June in the United States continues to be celebrated as National Caribbean American Heritage Month (CAHM). The primary reason for establishing this observance was the ‘need to create and disseminate knowledge about the contributions of Caribbean immigrants to America‘.
It is common knowledge that Jamaicans can be found far and wide, all across the world. However, the largest concentrations of Jamaicans are in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, other Caribbean Islands particularly Cayman.The most popular reason usually given by Jamaicans who migrate is better job opportunities, as the present Jamaican economy is plagued with low growth, high debt and high crime.
Let’s diG into Data
Did you know…???
In 2012, 20, 705 Jamaicans were granted lawful permanent residence in the United States? This represented 1% of the Jamaican population 2012 and a 5% increase over the 19, 662 Jamaicans who were granted lawful permanent residence in the United States the previous year.
In 2013, U.S. citizenship was conferred upon 16,442 Jamaicans. This represented 1% of the Jamaican population 2013 and a 6% increase over the 15,531 Jamaicans who were conferred U.S citizens the previous year.
Jamaicans living abroad are not only essential to the well being of their family remaining on the island but they are also important to the Jamaican economy. As many Jamaicans living and working in the Diaspora transfer a portion of their earnings on a monthly basis back to the island, as what is called Remittances.
Remittances make up an estimated 15% of Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The charts below illustrate remittance inflows by source country.
Even though the charts focus on 2013, if we went further in time we would clearly see the trend that historically Jamaica receives most of its Remittances from the United States.
Therefore, tells us something about the size of the Jamaican Diaspora in the United States. Hence, why National Caribbean American Heritage Month should be observed by Jamaicans.
For more on Caribbean American Heritage Month.