Jamaica – Migration contributes to low population growth


A total of 16,866 Jamaicans were granted permanent residence visas to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom for the year 2020. Even though there has been a noticeable decrease in the number of people emigrating to these countries in Due to the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, Jamaica at the other end is facing a shrinking population, a lack of growth.

The figures come directly from the latest edition of the Economic and Social Survey Jamaica (ESSJ), a publication of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), which was released last week.

The lack of population growth is offset by the country’s low birth rate dating back to the 1980s. A contributing factor to this issue is that women of childbearing age are migrating to the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other countries seeking better opportunities.

The PIOJ mentioned that emigration over the past two years could have created a bigger problem with regards to the country’s dwindling population if it weren’t for the restrictions put in place to deflect the effects of COVID-19. .

The PIOJ estimated the country’s population at 2,736,800 at the end of 2021.

In 2020, there was a significant decrease of 66.1% in the number of Jamaican emigrants who obtained permanent residency or British citizenship.

According to the recent ESSJ report, “This decline can be directly attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions.”
He added that “Despite the observed declines, the United States continued to be the destination of choice for Jamaican emigrants. A total of 12,826 Jamaicans were granted permanent residence visas for the United States, a decrease of 69.1% from the previous year”.

The “immediate relatives of U.S. citizens” and “family sponsored preferences” categories remained popular among other admissions at 76.6% and 17.8%. “Employment-based preferences” follow at 5.2%.
The ESSJ reveals that there was no data on the age, gender and employment status of Jamaican migrants in the United States at the time of their release.
In 2020, a total of 2,030 emigrants obtained permanent resident status in Canada in 2020, which highlights a decrease of 49% from the year 2019. The highest number of Jamaicans who obtained the status of permanent resident were between 25 and 44 years old. for more than half a decade.

The ESSJ noted, “Many of these people are women in their prime productive and reproductive years, a trend also highlighted in the 2017 Policy and Action Plan on International Migration and Development.”
In 2020, 285 emigrants between the ages of 30 and 34 obtained permanent resident status, which contributed to a 48.2% decrease in the number of emigrants to Canada compared to the previous year. Emigrants classified in the 25-29 and 35-39 age groups were the second largest group of emigrants in Canada; the two groups hold up to 230 people each in 2020, a decrease of 47.1% and 53.5% compared to 2019.

Jamaicans between the ages of 40 and 44 who have been granted permanent residency number 165, a decrease of 51.5% from 2019.

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