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Statistikat e Komunitetit Shqiptar në Amerikë

Exp

Administrator
#1
The Albanian Community in the United States
Statistical Profiling of the Albanian-Americans


Cambridge, MA, February 2015

Executive Summary

When the Albanian Communist regime fell in 1991 - 92, many Albanians saw their future outside the borders of Albania. At that time in history, no one anticipated the scale of migration that would take place in the subsequent two decades. Today, one third of Albania’s 1991 population lives abroad. Most of these migrants live and work in neighboring Greece and Italy. The third most popular destination is however the United States. Besides this new wave of migrants, the US has an old Albanian diaspora – the offspring of migrants who came to the US between the First and the Second World War. This is what mainly gives rise to the second generation Albanian-Americans.

To the best of our knowledge, there is currently no systematic documentation of the socio-demographic and economic characteristics of the Albanian community in the US. To bridge this gap, we use data from the American Community Survey 2012 and analyze these characteristics. The profiling could be of interest for anyone who focuses on the Albanians abroad – the Government’s Programs dealing with diaspora and migration issues, researchers interested in migration questions, the Albanian Community Organizations in the US or the diaspora members themselves.

We find that the first and the second generation Albanian-Americans have distinctive features. The first generation (those who arrived after the fall of Communism) is more educated than the non-Albanian Americans with comparable demographics. This is particularly true of Albanian women. The education of the second generation resembles more closely the US population with comparable demographic characteristics.


Despite the qualification advantage, first generation Albanian-Americans earn much less than nonAlbanian Americans with comparable socio-demographic characteristics. We find that this is not associated with being Albanian per se but with being an immigrant more generally. The migrant-native gap narrows down with time spent in the US. An important channel through which the current gap is maintained is qualification mismatch. We observe that first generation Albanian-Americans are overrepresented in occupations requiring little skills and under-represented in occupations requiring medium and high skills, in direct contrast to them being more educated than non-Albanians.

When it comes to the earnings of second generation Albanian-Americans, the situation is more nuanced. The low skilled Albanian-Americans earn significantly more, and the highly skilled Albanian-Americans earn significantly less than the non-Albanian Americans with comparable socio-demographic characteristics. We currently do not have a straightforward explanation for this pattern.

The Albanian population in the US is highly concentrated in a few states: New York, Michigan and Massachusetts account for almost 60% of all Albanian Americans. The community in Massachusetts is the best educated; best employed and has the highest earnings among the three, but is also the oldest one in terms of demographics. However, due to its sheer size (over 60,000 Albanian-Americans), New York is the host of most Albanians with BA degree (about 10,000). New York also hosts the largest number of high earning Albanians (about 1,800 earn at least $100,000 a year).


Defining the Albanian-American Community



We use two demographic characteristics to define the Albanian-American community: (a) whether a person was born in the Republic of Albania, or (b) whether a person declares his or her first or second ancestry to be Albanian. Ancestry can refer to national or ethnic identity. We distinguish between first and second generation of Albanian-Americans. The first generation is constituted by all AlbanianAmericans whose country of birth is the Republic of Albania. First generation ethnic Albanians who emigrated from the Republic of Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia or other places in the Balkans are not part of this group. The second generation Albanian-Americans is composed of US residents who were not born in Albania, but have Albanian ancestry (first or second). At the same time, the definition may include second generation Albanian-Americans from other places in the Balkans as long as they define one of their ancestries as Albanian.

The data for this study comes from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2012, as provided by the IPUMS-USA (Ruggles et al. 2010). The ACS 2012 is a one percent random sample of the USA population in 2012. Completing the survey is mandatory for the surveyed individuals, which safeguards from problems of self-selection. The survey is administered by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Using the above definitions, according to the ACS, in 2012, there were 86,600 first generation AlbanianAmericans in the USA and 127,700 second generation Albanian-Americans. This is a total of 214,300 Albanian-Americans (Figure 1). For the reasons discussed above, this group mainly represents the Albanian-Americans stemming from Albania.1 The total community of ethnic Albanians is the USA is probably much larger. Nazi (2000) gives an unofficial estimate of between 250,000 and 500,000 Albanian-Americans in 2000



ALBANIAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY

First generation Albanians:

Born in Albania 86.600



Second generation Albanians:

Not born in Albania, but at least

one parent is Albanian 127.700



Most of the first generation Albanians immigrated to the US in the 1990s and 2000s (94%); 36% immigrated in the 1990s and 47% in the 2000s (see Figure below).

statistikat.jpg
Distribution of first generation Albanian-Americans by year of immigration in the USA
The second generation Albanian-Americans is composed of immigrants to the USA before and after World War II. The early Albanian-American immigrants came to the USA as guest workers in the late 19th century (Nagi, 1988, p.35). More significant Albanian communities were built in the 1920s and the 1930s when whole families from the southern part of Albania immigrated (Nagi 1988, p. 52). After World War II, under the regime of Enver Xoxha, Albanians from Albania were not allowed to leave the country. Hence, most ethnic Albanians who immigrated to the USA during Enver Xoxha’s rule come from elsewhere. It is important to bear in mind that the second generation also encompasses the children of those who immigrated after the fall of the communist regime in the early 1990s.

Socio-Demographic Characteristics of the Albanian-American Community

The average age of the first generation Albanians is 40, while the average age of the second generation is 29 years. The first generation is therefore on average somewhat older than the non-Albanian Americans, while the second generation is significantly younger (Table 1). Figure 3 clearly shows that the first generation Albanians is overrepresented among the prime age (25-54 year old) residents, most likely because they have come to the US either for the purpose of obtaining college education or for work. On the other hand, the second generation shows a high density of children and youth. A large part of this second generation is probably the offspring of post-communism Albanian migrants.

Average age and gender by group

Average age % Male
First generation 39.8 52.70%
Second generation 29.3 51.7%
Total community 33.5 52.1%
Non-Albanian Americans 37.7 49.20%