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Friday, March 21 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
FR-PS33 [POSTER] Haitians in Miami: Acculturation and Status Attainment after Public Policy Change

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The United States is dependent on a steady flow of immigrants for population and economic growth. How the U.S. as a host country, receives an immigrant group is important because it impacts the way in which immigrant groups choose to accept and adopt American culture. This study examines the Haitian immigrant community in Miami to test the model of acculturation developed by E. H. Cohen (2011). Cohen’s model is unique, because it takes into account the attitudes of the established immigrant community in the host country as a determinant in immigrant acculturation.  Although acculturation is an internal process, it can be observed at the community level. This study measures changes in socioeconomic status and political representation as indicators of acculturation.  The Haitian community is represented by the residents of the Little Haiti neighborhood in Miami (Census tracts 20.03 and 20.04).  Although not representative of the entire Haitian-American community in Miami, Little Haiti is still considered the cultural center. Cohen’s model is tested by measuring the SES and political representation of the Haitian community after a change in policy that removed the favored “refugee” status from Haitian immigrants. Cohen’s theory predicts a change in the attitudes of the host country towards the immigrant community would produce a change in the level of acculturation. The results show that the change in policy had little impact on the Little Haiti neighborhood. Changes in SES did not significantly vary between Little Haiti and Miami overall. However, the larger Haitian-American community in Miami may have experienced an increased rate of acculturation, as evidenced by the increase in political representation. This may be due to the reduction of the immigrant flow from Haiti. More research is needed to understand the factors that influence Haitian immigrant acculturation in Miami.


Joy Neilson

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Friday March 21, 2014 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Navarro Ballroom (Westin 2nd Floor)