The Adaptation Process of Cuban and Haitian Refugees (CHR)

Project Description

This study focuses on refugees living in southern Florida: a sample of 514 Cuban refugees who arrived as part of the Mariel boat lift of 1980, and a sample of 500 Haitian refugees who arrived between 1980 and 1982. Longitudinal data were collected for a comparative study of the adaptation of these two refugee groups living in the area of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. This study was conducted by Alejandro Portes in collaboration with faculty and researchers at the Miami-Dade Community College and Florida International University.

The first sample of 514 Cuban men and women were interviewed in 1983 and re-interviewed in 1985 and 1986. This sample was selected using a stratified multi-stage method based on the political divisions of the Miami SMSA. The second sample of 500 Haitian refugees were interviewed shortly after their arrival and re-interviewed two years later. Three hundred cases were selected using a stratified multi-stage sampling method in Miami's Little Haiti, a neighborhood with a high concentration of this immigrant group. The remaining 200 cases were selected from rural areas around Lake Okeechobee where recent Haitian migrants worked as sugar cane cutters.

The same questionnaire was administered to Cuban and Haitian respondents in 1983. The questionnaire combined items on various aspects of adaptation with questions on the respondent's background prior to arrival, their reasons for coming, details of their journey to the United States, and tracing information necessary to conduct the second interview. The Cuban questionnaire was administered in Spanish and the Haitian in French and Creole.

The second interview focused on three aspects of the adaptation process including: (1) structural adaptation or educational, occupational, and economic mobility in the host society; (2) cultural adaptation conceptualized as changes in self-perception, attitudes, language use and other normative patterns; and (3) social adaptation, or shifts in the individual's network of primary and secondary relationships within and outside the ethnic group. Many questions in the second survey have items in common with those employed in the Cuban-Mexican adaptation study, also available in this Data Bank.

Data Description

For each of the samples there are several files: One is an SPSS system file containing all the data (e.g. haiti.sav). These SPSS system files are in binary format and must be retrieved as such. They can be analyzed directly using the SPSS statistical analysis program. There is also a corresponding ascii text file containing all the data for each sample. These files have a .dat suffix (e.g. haiti.dat). These are not binary files. They must be read into your statistical program with an appropriate format statement. Stata-compatible data files are also available and have a .dta extension. For each data file there is a corresponding codebook in .cdx format, accessible with Microsoft Windows (save to a convenient location on your computer, then use Microsoft Word to open the document). These contain information about variable formats and values.

Selected Publications

Portes, Alejandro and Alex Stepick. 1993. City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Portes, Alejandro. 1987. "The Social Origins of the Cuban Enclave Economy of Miami." Sociological Perspectives 30 (October): 340-372.

Portes, Alejandro and Juan M. Clark. 1987. "Mariel Refugees: Six Years After." Migration World 15 (Fall): 14-18.

Portes, Alejandro and Alex Stepick. 1986. "Flight into Despair: A Profile of Recent Haitian Refugees in South Florida." International Migration Review 20 (Summer): 329-350.

Portes, Alejandro, Alex Stepick, and Cynthia Truelove. 1986. "Three Years Later: The Adaptation Process of 1980 (Mariel) Cuban and Haitian Refugees in South Florida." Population Research and Policy Review 5 (Summer): 329-350.

Portes, Alejandro and Alex Stepick. 1985. "Unwelcome Immigrants: The Labor Market Experience of 1980 Cuban and Haitian Refugees in South Florida." American Sociological Review 50 (August): 493-514.

Portes, Alejandro, Juan M. Clark, and Robert D. Manning. 1985. "After Mariel: A Survey of the Resettlement Experiences of 1980 Cuban Refugees in Miami." Cuban Studies 15 (Summer): 37-59.