Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2021

Project Advisor(s)

Charles Venator; Virginia Hettinger; Sara Silverstein; Matthew Singer

University Scholar Major

Political Science


Immigration Law | Labor Economics | Migration Studies | Political Science | Race and Ethnicity | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Work, Economy and Organizations


The African Diaspora represents vastly complex migratory patterns. This project studies the journeys of English-speaking Afro-Caribbeans who immigrated to the US for economic reasons between the 1980s-present day. While some researchers emphasize the success of West Indian immigrants, others highlight the issue of downward assimilation many face upon arrival in the US. This paper explores the prospect of economic incorporation into American society for West Indian immigrants. I conducted and analyzed data from an online survey and 10 oral histories of West Indian economic migrants residing in the Greater Hartford Area to gain a broader perspective on the economic attainment of these immigrants. This project focuses on the following two questions: (1) what are the prospects for economic incorporation into American society for English-speaking West Indians in CT; (2) Are Afro-Caribbean immigrants affected by downward assimilation? If so, to what extent? I hypothesized that English-speaking West Indians in CT are likely to experience downward assimilation upon arrival in the US, but are able to overcome that by following two paths: assimilation into American society by first finding employment and then potentially working their way up in ranking or economic incorporation either through recertification processes to continue professional careers they may have begun in the West Indies or by becoming small business owners. I find that West Indians in the Greater Hartford Area, for the most part, are able to overcome any initial downward assimilation through economic incorporation and report a higher average yearly income than their African American counterparts.