Introduction: This study examines demographic and socioeconomic factors of racial/ethnic groups in New York City between 1990 and 2008 – particularly the Colombian population.
Methods: Data on Latinos and other racial/ethnic groups were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, reorganized for public use by the Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota, IPUMSusa. Cases in the dataset were weighted and analyzed to produce population estimates.
Results: The Colombian population of New York City, which increased nearly 25% between 1990 and 2000, declined to 97,580 in 2008 from 109,710 in 2000, representing a decline of about 11%. While in 1990 Colombians were the third largest group of Latinos in the City behind Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, by 2000 they had fallen behind Mexicans and Ecuadorians to become the fifth largest Latino national subgroup. This trend continued in 2008, when they constituted only 4.2% of the Latino population. The Colombian population within New York City has been consistently concentrated in Queens, which since 1990 has accounted for roughly three quarters of the Colombian population of the five boroughs. Since 1990, Colombian households have had the highest median household income of any Latino national group in New York City.
Discussion: While educational attainment levels have generally improved from 1990 to 2008, domestic-born Colombian males are mostly likely to have graduated from high school and attended some college, but not completed a degree. Domestic-born females, on the other hand, have done better than other Colombian subgroups: nearly half have at least acquired a bachelors degree, and extraordinary achievement in comparative perspective. Domestic-born Colombians have made more rapid gains from 1990 to 2008 in household income than their foreign-born counterparts, even though they still lag behind foreign-born Colombians in the absolute levels of median household income.