Dominican Republicport of departure

Until the early sixties, few Dominicans, in essence only political refugees, had to search for other lands. The change in the last four decades, which brings some experts to speak of a “true exodus”, is due to a series of factors:

  • Elimination of the juridical-political impediments that existed under the Trujillo dictatorship and the use of U.S. strategy to facilitate the entrance of Dominicans to its territory during the 60s and 70s as a way to counteract the Cuban influence in the region.
  • Increase of the working age population due to maintaining the birth rate, reducing the death rate and the growing incorporation of women into the work force.
  • Generally, the reduction of Dominican buying power, in spite of the adoption of an economic model based on tourism and duty-free zones and in addition to the precariousness of basic public services.

With regard to Dominican emigration, the International Organization for Migrations (OIM) reports the main destinations as:  United States/Puerto Rico, Spain, Italia, Venezuela and Haiti.   

Income coming from Dominicans abroad is a factor contributing to economic and social development; remittances are a significant source of money.   

In 2012 the country received US$3,158,000,000, a 1.3% decline in remittances compared to that recieved in 2011, attributed to the deteriorating economic situation in the main places where Dominican migrants live, especially Spain and Puerto Rico. In 2013 a value of US$3,333,000,000 was registered and in 2014 “the amount of US$4,600,020,000” was estimated. Remittances to the Dominican economy make up approximately 6 percent of GDP and represent an important component of family income.

The individual that emigrates is on average from the urban middle or lower middle class, opting for large metropolitan areas in the country to which they arrive. Their level of education surpasses the median of the country, though the number of professionals with university studies in other countries that remain as part of the work force has increased.


Dominicans Residing Abroad

Dominicans residing abroad: Dominican population registered and or estimated in the main countries of residency 

Destination Country  Estimated Number of Migrants 
United States  1,414,703  
Spain  77,696  
Puerto Rico   67,415  
Italy  28,623  
Venezuela   12,078  
Canada  7,742  
Panama  6,944  
Virgin Islands       5,958  
Germany   5,939  
Switzerland  5,828  
Curacao  5,599  
France  4,912  
Haiti  4,799  
Aruba   4,317  
San Marti  3,510  
Mexico  1,893  
Antigua and Barbuda   1,740  
Austria   1,635  
Costa Rica   1,105  
Netherlands  1,053  
Total   1,663,489  

Source: Observatory of Caribbean Migrants (OBMICA) – State of the Art of Migrations that deal with the Dominican Republic 2014 with data from Eurostat (2014), UNDESA (2013b), World Bank (2010) and US Census (2010)


Dominicans in the United States

Dominicans occupy fourth place among Hispanic immigrants in the United State, after Mexicans, Cubans and Salvadorans. According to the 2010 US Census, 1,414,703 Dominicans reside in the country, contributing to 2.8% of the total of Latinos.

The majority of this population lives in the northeast region of the United States, as shown in the following box:

Dominicans in the United States, 2010  

State  Dominican Population  
New York  674,787  
New Jersey   197,922  
Florida   172,451  
Massachusetts   103,292  
Pennsylvania   62,348  
Rhode Island   35,008  
Connecticut   26,093  
North Carolina   15,225  
Georgia   14,941  
Maryland   14,874  
Others  97,763  
Total       1,414,703  

Fuente:  US Census Bureau, 2010 Census – 2010 Hispanic Population, S.   Enis/M.Rios-Vargas/N. Albert. www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br

According to an analysis by Pew Research Center of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey[1], its estimated that 1.8 million Hispanics of Dominican origin resided in the United States in 2013.

López, Gustavo. 2015. “Hispanics of Dominican Origin in the United States, 2013.“ Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center, September.



Dominicans in Spain

After the United States, the nation with the greatest number of Dominican immigrants is Spain, although official numbers have been decreasing in recent years 

As we see in the following table, the estimated population of Dominicans in Spain has been decreasing in recent years likely due to the economic crisis that has afflicted that country.

Dominicans in Spain (2010 – 2014)

Year  Dominican residents in Spain 
2010    90,387   
2011    90,190   
2012    91,718   
2013    90,673   
2014    77,696   

Some of the factors contributing to the Dominican migration toward Spain have been:

  • Political instability in the 70s, after the execution of the dictator Trujillo in 1961.
  • Great economic instability in the 70s, due to the gasoline crisis.
  • Economic difficulties that took place in the 80s, caused by rising prices of basic products and services, as a result of measures taken by the government under the pretext of stabilizing the economy in response to the demands of international organizations.

The fact of sharing similar cultures, religions and especially language has been an important factor in the decision of Dominicans to choose Spain as a migratory destination. The Dominican woman, especially, decided to go to Spain and easily inserted herself into the labor force, particularly in domestic services, whereas men, in less number, engaged in the construction area, among other Jobs.

Pimentel, AlcidesDOMINICANS IN SPAINDOMINICANS IN BARCELONADepartamento de Geografía Humana, Universidad de Barcelona 
[1] López, Gustavo. 2015. “Hispanics of Dominican Origin in the United States, 2013.“ Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center, September.

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