About the Dominican Republic

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  • Population: 10.1 million
  • Languages: Spanish
  • Main religions: Roman Catholic (95%), Other (5%)

About Dominican-Americans

  • Local population: About 1,200
  • Why they came here: Many Dominicans moved to America to escape the reign of former dictator Rafael Trujillo. Many settled in New York City. More recently, Dominican-Americans have moved out of the Big Apple to smaller cities like Utica. More than 65 percent of all Dominican-Americans still live in New York state, however.
  • When they came: Between the 1930s and 1960s

More resources:

  • "The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," by Junot Diaz (fiction)
  • "The Devil Behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic," by Steven Gregory

Felix Baez, 46, and Roila Debaes, 43, both of Utica, and Luis Inoa, 70, and his wife Maritza Inoa, also of Utica, dance to the music of New Jersey band Felix Rodriguez at El Canelo restaurant in Utica. Credit: Cassaundra Baber/Observer-Dispatch
Utican Daily Guerrero, second from the left, has founded the Harvard College Dominican Student Association, which gained recognition by the Ivy League college in 2011. Credit: Submitted photo

Read about how Dominicans are keeping their traditions alive in Utica.

Sources: CIA World Factbook, Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, 2006-2010 American Community Survey, University of Buffalo, O-D archives