Marshallese Migration: Comparative Well-Being In U.S. Destination States


    University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
    Marshallese Migration: Comparative Well-Being In U.S. Destination States
    by Brittany Wheeler, Juno Fitzpatrick, Kees van der Geest and Maxine Burkett

    This brief contributes first-hand information from 79 Marshallese respondents living in Hawai‘i, Oregon, and Washington, who have compared their well-being in these destination states to that of their previous lives in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). In addition, they reflect on how their sense of well-being relates to their concerns about a changing environment at home. Altogether, these Marshallese perspectives provide multi-locational, context-specific information that indicate how their lives are unfolding today, and may be best supported going forward. This brief has three main components. It begins by providing a background on the Marshallese respondents who informed this study, and information about the data collection process. Second, the brief reports findings on comparative well-being, offering both qualitative and quantitative information provided by Marshallese individuals. This section also focuses further on the context of climate change, attempting to understand differential well-being in a changing environment. Finally, the brief closes with final thoughts on the experience of Compact migration to the United States, reflecting on some of the current and future opportunities and barriers facing Marshallese communities, including the legal challenges of COFA status in destination states and the outsized impact of COVID-19.

    Read the full policy brief here.