|Regions with significant populations|
|New York · New Jersey · Florida · Georgia · California · Texas · Pennsylvania · Maryland|
|English · Guyanese Creole · Guyanese Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) · Portuguese · Chinese · Akawaio · Macushi · Waiwai · Arawak · Patamona · Warrau · Carib · Wapishana · Arekuna|
|Christianity · Hinduism · Islam|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Trinidadian and Tobagonian Americans · Surinamese Americans · Caribbean Americans · Indo-Caribbean Americans · African Americans · Chinese Americans · Portuguese Americans|
Guyanese Americans are an ethnic group of Americans who can trace their ancestry back to Guyana. As of 2011, there are 208,899 Guyanese Americans currently living in the United States. The majority of Guyanese live in New York City – some 140,000 – making them the fifth-largest foreign-born population in the city.
After the independence of Guyana from the United Kingdom, in 1966, Guyanese immigration to the United States increased dramatically. Political and economic uncertainty, and the internal strife two years earlier as well as a radical change in US immigration policy opening up opportunities to non-Europeans prompted many Guyanese who could make the move to seek opportunities abroad. An average of 6,080 people a year emigrated from Guyana between 1969 and 1976, increasing to an average of 14,400 between 1976 and 1981.
Many of the first Guyanese immigrants to the United States were of African descent. They were women who were recruited as domestic workers or nursing assistants. Prior to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 Guyanese of Asian descent faced immigration restrictions because of existence of Asiatic Barred Zone. However, many Guyanese who had studied in the US in the mid 20th century or earlier stayed on in the US; although some like Cheddi Jagan returned to Guyana. Shirley Chisholm's father represents one of the earliest of Guyanese immigrants to the US during the 20th century; emigration from Guyana at that time was mostly to Caribbean or Commonwealth countries.
Many Indo-Guyanese immigrants emigrated to New York City during the upheavals of the 1970s and 1980s, a group descended from the original Indian indentured servants that arrived to Guyana in the early 1800s after the abolishing of slavery by the British Empire.
As of 1990, 80 percent of Guyanese Americans lived in the Northeast, especially around New York City, which is home to over 140,000 people of Guyanese descent. In Queens, 82,000 Guyanese represent the second largest foreign-born population in the borough.
Many Indo-Guyanese immigrants emigrated to New York City during the upheavals of the 1970s and 1980s and settled in South Richmond Hill. The 2000 census identified 24,662 people in Richmond Hill who were born in Guyana, the majority of whom were of Indian descent. The large concentration of Indo-Guyanese residents in Richmond Hill and the neighboring Ozone Park, has led the area along Liberty Avenue to be referred to as 'Little Guyana.' The majority of NYC's Afro-Guyanese population lives in Brooklyn's West Indian neighborhoods, most notably Flatbush and Canarsie.
Other areas in the U.S. with significant Guyanese populations include the northern New Jersey cities of Irvington, South Plainfield, Orange and East Orange; and parts of southern and central Florida (Orlo Vista, Oakland, and Verona Walk). Smaller populations can also be found in Rockland County, New York; Schenectady, New York; Emerald Lakes, Pennsylvania; Olanta; Lincoln Park, Georgia; and Bladensburg, Maryland.
Indo-Guyanese are mostly Hindu, but some are Christians or Muslims.
The Guyanese have formed their own businesses in the United States, including many businesses along Little Guyana's Liberty Avenue that sell traditional Guyanese cuisine, jewelry, Bollywood videos and Sari clothing.
Guyanese have organized many of the U.S. Caribbean organizations. There are many associations of nurses and police from Guyana. Although the group has not made a collective impact on U.S. national policy, they have organized, through their churches, with other ethnic groups to promote knowledge about and find solutions for the problems in their neighborhoods and have entered local politics. Despite being the 5th largest immigrant group in NYC, there are no council members of Guyanese descent.
Some of the associations are the Guyana Cultural Association of New York, Indo-Caribbean Alliance, The Indo-Caribbean Federation of North America, and the Association of Guyanese-Americans. Around springtime, the Indo-Guyanese population in Richmond Hill, Queens traditionally hold a Phagwah Holi Festival & Celebration.
Relations with Guyana
The Guyanese-American community has close ties with Guyana and sends financial aid back to family members. There are large ongoing academic exchanges between Guyana and the United States. The Journal of the Caribbean is a Caribbean newspaper important to inform the Indo-Guyanese and other Caribbean groups of their achievements and inform them about the events in Guyana. This newspaper is published weekly and distributed throughout North America. The publications of these papers are written in English. However, there are also publications in other languages. Newspapers offer services to help people. In the newspaper there is tax air tickets and visa forms, applications and service support for the elderly, advertisements for charities for children in Guyana and India.
- Yaani King
- Dawnn Lewis
- Derek Luke
- Nicole Narain (model and actress)
- C. C. H. Pounder
- Sean Patrick Thomas
- Maritza Correia – Olympic swimmer.
- Laura Creavalle – Guyanese-born Canadian/American professional bodybuilder
- Ezekiel Jackson – WWE professional wrestler and bodybuilder.
- Mark Teixeira – Major League baseball player, New York Yankees.
- Darren Collison – NBA player son of two world class Guyanese athletes.
- Warren Creavalle – Soccer player
- Deborah Persaud – Virologist
- Edual Ahmad (real estate)
- Rihanna (Guyanese mother)
- Red Café
- Godfrey Cambridge
- Rafael Cameron
- Kevin Darlington
- Oscar Dathorne
- Smoke DZA
- Rhona Fox
- Saint Jhn
- Aminta Kilawan (lawyer, activist and writer. Guyanese parents)
- Mel King
- Dawnn Lewis
- Derek Luke (Guyanese father)
- Steve Massiah
- Nicole Narain
- Avi Nash
- Thara Prashad
- Joy-Ann Reid (Guyanese mother)
- Alana Shipp
- Terry Gajraj
- Wendell Holland
- Giveon (Guyanese mother)
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- "born in Puerto Rico, but her parents are from Guyana."
- Guyana’s most decorated and successful bodybuilder
- "From: Gayana, South America"
- "My dad's dad grew up in British Guiana"
- "Aminta Kilawan is an Indo-Caribbean American lawyer, activist, and writer."
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- Ramsaroop, Yuvraj. Realizing the American Dream: The Personal Triumph of a Guyanese Immigrant (2010).