College Degree Black African Immigrants Outpace U.S Population

By Che Ambe

The latest Pew Research on black immigrants to the U.S indicate that between 1980-2013, the black immigrant population has more than doubled from 800,000 – 3.8 million. This equally affected the overall black population with 8.7% of blacks in 2013 being foreign-born. Overall, half of all the black immigrants were of Jamaican or Haitian born. These two countries account for about 18% and 15% of overall black immigrants.

In terms of the black African immigrant population, the PEW research which based its analysis on U.S census Bureau Data equally indicate that between 2000 – 2013, the black African immigrant population increased 137% from 570,000 to 1.4 million.

In terms of legal status, the research show that that black immigrants are less likely to be  in the country illegally, more likely to be U.S citizens with a higher English proficiency rate. In 2012, about 575,000 black immigrants were in the U.S without authorization, making up about 16% of all black migrants. By comparison, about 11.5 million of the nation’s immigrants have unauthorized status.

African Immigrant at a Naturalization Ceremony

Overall, while black immigrants earn college degrees at a lower rate than most Americans, the research indicate that foreign-born blacks from Africa with a foreign degree outpaced the entire U.S population. “In 2013, one-third of black immigrants from Africa have a college degree, a higher share among the U.S population”.

The research (released in April) equally stated that although black Africans have similar educational attainment like most Americans, they annually earn less than the median American household. “The median annual household income for foreign-born blacks in 2013 was $43,800. That’s roughly $8,000 less than the $52,000 median for American households.” This is however higher than the average U.S-born black.

Table 1. Distribution of Sub-Saharan Immigrants by Country and Region of Origin, 2013

Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2013 ACS.

Note: Due to ACS data limitation, people shown in the “Africa, not else classified” (Africa, n.e.c.) category were added to the sub-Saharan African foreign-born group. The 116,000 foreign-born from the residual “Africa, n.e.c.” category accounted for 6 percent of the total 1.8 million African-born immigrants and 8 percent of the 1.5 million sub-Saharan African-born immigrants.

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