An Overview of the Costa Rican American Community
Costa Rican American immigrants have been migrating to the United States as early as 1931 but unlike most Latin American immigrants they are not escaping political oppression or seeking economic stability. According to the Happy Planet Index, “Costa Rica’s HPI score reflects high life expectancy, high levels of experienced well-being, and a moderate ecological footprint.” With a stable government, economy and a high HPI score it’s no wonder the Costa Rican American population is a low 132,638 compared to other Hispanic subgroups. Most Costa Rican’s migrate to the United States due to school, sponsored work or marriage.
Most have settled in metropolitan states including California, New York, Los Angeles, Florida, Texas and New Jersey. The median household income of Costa Rican American families is $40,345. An estimated 83,589 Costa Rican Americans, 25 years and over, have some educational attainment. From that estimate, 16.7% of Costa Ricans have a bachelor’s degree or higher and 27.9% have attended some college or obtained an associate’s degree.
The most common occupations of Costa Rican Americans include management, business, science, art, service, sales and office positions. The most common industries include construction, health care, retail, scientific, managerial, administrative, entertainment, food, educational and recreation.
Costa Rican Americans generally acculturate quickly and easily to their new environment since they are not self-conscious about their ethnicity. Unlike other Hispanic subgroups, they tend to disperse into the general population rather than seeking out similar communities. Most households are bilingual and only 23.8% of Costa Rican Americans only speak English. This number is expected to increase within new generations due to their rapid acculturation abilities.
Some of their most celebrated holidays are religious and include Semana Santa (Holy Week), Día de la Virgen de los Ángeles (Day of the Los Angeles Virgin), and Día de los Santos Difuntos (Day of the Dead).