Study: income and education of Dominicans in the United States improve

The income and educational level of Dominicans in the United States have improved in the last 20 years, although they remain below the general average for that country, according to a study published in March.

The report “Dominicans in the United States: a socioeconomic profile 2022”prepared by the Institute of Dominican Studies of The City University of New York (CUNY), presents “a mixed, but generally promising image” of the Quisqueyan diaspora.

Although the poverty rate of Dominicans is higher in relation to the general population of the United States, the document indicates that their situation has shown “significant progress” in the last two decades.

In 1999, the family income per capita among the population of Dominican origin was 50% of the US average; in 2009 it increased to 57% and in 2019, to 61%.

Is about one of the highest average growth rates of family income per capita of any racial and ethnic group in that period, emphasize the authors, Ramona Hernández, Francisco L. Rivera-Batiz and Sidie S. Sisay.

Poverty has also been reduced “drastically”: it went from 27.5% in 1999 to 19.0% in 2019; while the national percentage in those years remained around 12.


“We believe that this improvement is largely due to the high participation of Dominican women in the labor force,” explains Listin Diario la sociology professor Ramona Hernándezdirector of the institute and one of the authors of the research.

The Dominicans have the highest female labor participation rate compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

This represents a change from past decades, when Latinas, and among them Dominicans, had little labor participation because they stayed at home taking care of the children.

The researchers estimate that it is difficult at the moment to assess the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on variables related to income due to “difficulties in data collection in the last two years.”

“However”, they clarify in their report, “the exploratory analysis of the existing data suggests that it is possible that the pandemic has not had the sustained negative impact that many expected based on its catastrophic effects between March and August 2020.”


The educational level of the Dominican community in the United States is below the national average. However, according to the report, their educational achievements now exceed those of the general Latino population.

The study shows that in 2019 the percentage of Dominicans who had completed university (although without receiving a degree) was 20.7% of the total population aged 25 or over, and those who had a university degree were 19.6%, for a total of 40.3%. Among Hispanics/Latinos, the equivalent proportions were 19.6%, 17.6%, and 37.2%.

Women have a higher level of schooling than men.

In the same way, Dominicans born in the United States have “substantially higher” levels of schooling than those who arrived as immigrants.

Dominicans born in the United States outperform the general population of that nation in terms of educational achievement and also have a “significantly higher” educational level than Hispanics born in that territory, only surpassed by Cubans.

“The second and third generation Dominicans – the report highlights among its conclusions – seem to be investing heavily in the accumulation of human capital. Their educational level has been constantly increasing.

Hernández comments that this trend was beginning to be noticed as early as 2004, “and it didn’t make sense”.

The majority of second-generation Dominicans had parents who had not completed school, high levels of poverty, and came from single-parent households, three factors that predicted that a person would not complete their studies.

“Our boys had three ‘no’s’ and still filled the universities”exposes the researcher.

In the future and based on this finding, he considers, two important questions should be analyzed: if these young people work in their professional area and if they receive a fair salary.

Currently, according to the report, Dominicans are overrepresented in service occupations, precision production, crafts and repair. Instead, they are “clearly underrepresented” in managerial and professional positions.


The authors describe the future prospects of Dominicans in the United States as “cautiously bright”, since their progress will depend on the variables that led to their current progress being maintained.

A “worrying” factor for Hernández is the “Americanization of the mentality” of second and third generation Dominicans and how this process could influence the progress experienced so far in economic and educational terms.

The study “Dominicans in the United States: a socioeconomic profile 2022” is based on data from the United States Census and the American Community Survey (monthly demographic survey), so it offers a “broad panorama, but at the same time specific” of the situation of the Dominican diaspora and allows it to be compared with other groups.

In Hernández’s opinion, the importance of this type of study lies in the fact that it empowers the community so that it can sit down with its representatives to discuss ways to improve their living conditions.

Founded in 1992 and housed at The City College of New York, The City University of New York (CUNY) Institute for Dominican Studies is the nation’s first university research institute dedicated to the study of people of Dominican descent in the United States. and other parts of the world.


The number of Dominicans in the United Statesaccording to the 2020 US Census of Population, around 2.2 million. Of that number, 42.2% corresponds to those born in the North American territory.

Dominicans are the fifth largest Hispanic/Latino group in the United Statesonly surpassed by Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans and Cubans.

The majority of Dominicans residing in the United States are concentrated in the state of New York. New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Connecticut follow.

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