93 Countries, 50 Languages Represented in City School System
July 11 - 18, 2007
By ANDY HART, The Hartford News Staff Writer
Hartford has been providing a home for immigrants since Thomas Hooker and his followers first arrived on the banks of the Connecticut River back in 1636.
But Hartford’s population is becoming more and more diverse every year, and indications are that this trend will continue. Information provided by the Hartford Public School System (see list below) shows that approximately 2,500 new immigrants from 93 countries have enrolled in city schools in the past three years.
Hooker might have felt good to see that eight of those students came from the United Kingdom (England, Scotland and Wales) but many other traditional sources of immigration to Hartford have all but dried up. Only three of the new students came from Italy, one came from Sweden and none came from Ireland.
By far, the country from which the largest influx came was Jamaica, with 777 new students. Second was Bosnia-Herzegovina with 323. Next on the list was Peru with 205, followed by the Dominican Republic (173), Guyana (127) and Mexico (96).
Hartford has one of the largest West Indian communities in the nation and this sector of the population appears to be getting even stronger with significant numbers of new arrivals coming from St. Lucia, Haiti and Trinidad-Tobago in addition to the large group from Jamaica.
While students in the Hartford School System speak over 50 languages, Spanish will probably continue as the most common language after English, since many of the new immigrants come from South America and other Spanish-speaking nations, such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Following is a country by country breakdown of students who have entered the Hartford School System in the last three years: Country # Students
The Bahamas 2
Central African Republic 8
China, People’s Republic 13
China (Taiwan) 8
The Congo 3
Costa Rica 11
Ivory Coast 2
Dominican Republic 173
Russian Federation 16
Saint Lucia 52
Saudi Arabia 3
Sierra Leone 6
Solomon Islands 4
Trinidad & Tobago 19
United Kingdom 8
In addition, one student from each of the following countries entered the Hartford School System in the past three years: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cyprus, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Iran, Japan, North Korea, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Qatar, Romania, St. Christopher, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vatican City.