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Many Jamaicans have emigrated to other countries, especially to the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. In the case of the United States, about 20,000 Jamaicans per year are granted permanent residence.[58] The great number of Jamaicans living abroad has become known as the Jamaican diaspora. There has also been emigration of Jamaicans to Cuba.[59] The scale of emigration has been widespread and similar to other Caribbean entities such as Puerto Rico, Guyana, and The Bahamas. It is estimated that up to 2.5 million Jamaicans and Jamaican descendants live abroad.[60] An estimated 60% of the highly educated people of Jamaica now live abroad.[61]

Concentrations of expatriate Jamaicans are quite considerable in numerous cities in the United States, including New York City, Buffalo, the Miami metro area, Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Tampa, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Hartford, Providence and Los Angeles. Jamaicans in the United Kingdom number an estimated 800,000 making them by far the country's largest African-Caribbean group. Large-scale migration from Jamaica to the UK occurred primarily in the 1950s and 1960s (when the country was still under British rule). Jamaican communities exist in most large UK cities.[62] In Canada, the Jamaican population is centred in Toronto, and there are smaller communities in cities such as Hamilton, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa.