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African Immigrants in America: A Demographic Overview

Immigrants from Africa constitute a highly diverse and rapidly growing group in the United States. As Census data demonstrate, the African foreign-born population doubled in size between 2000 and 2010. Nearly half of African immigrants are naturalized U.S. citizens, and seven-in-ten speak only English or speak it “very well.” Just under three-quarters of African immigrants are black, while roughly one-fifth are white. The largest numbers of African immigrants are found in California, New York, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia. The top countries of origin for African immigrants are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya. Two-fifths of African immigrants have at least a bachelor’s degree, and more than one-third work in professional jobs.

Between 2000 and 2010, the African foreign-born population doubled in size.

  •  The number of African immigrants in the United States grew from 881,300 in 2000 to 1.6 million in 2010 {Figure 1}.

  • The number of male African immigrants increased from 484,790 to 845,237 between 2000 and 2010, while the number of females increased from 396,510 to 761,677 {Figure 2}.

  • In 2010, African immigrants comprised 4% of the foreign-born population {Figure 3}.

Nearly half of African immigrants are naturalized U.S. citizens.

  • 46.1% of African immigrants were naturalized U.S. citizens in 2010, compared to 43.7% of the foreign-born population as a whole {Figure 4}.

Nearly seven-in-ten African immigrants speak only English or speak it “very well.”

  • As of 2010, more than one-fifth (21.8%) of African immigrants spoke only English, while just under half (49.1%) reported speaking it “very well” {Figure 5}.

Nearly three-quarters of immigrants from Africa are black, while one-fifth are white.

  • As of 2010, 74.3% of African immigrants were black, while 20% were white and 2.7% Asian {Figure 6}.

The largest numbers of African immigrants are found in California, New York, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia.

  • As of 2010, the largest African foreign-born populations were in California (158,953), New York (158,878), Texas (136,112), Maryland (125,470), and Virginia (89,290) {Figure 7}.

Between 2000 and 2010, the African foreign-born population increased in size by 111.1% in Texas, 110% in Virginia, 100.1% in Maryland, 40.3% in California, and 35.9% in New York {Figure 8}.

Most African immigrants come from Western and Eastern Africa.

  • As of 2010, 573,791 African immigrants came from Western Africa and 475,832 from Eastern Africa {Figure 9}.

The numbers of immigrants from Middle Africa and Eastern Africa are growing the fastest.

  • Between 2000 and 2010, the number of immigrants from Middle Africa grew by 229.8% and the number from Eastern Africa by 123.1% {Figure 10}.

  • The African immigrant groups with the largest presence in the United States as of 2010 were Nigerians (219,309), Ethiopians (173,592), Egyptians (137,799), Ghanaians (124,696), and Kenyans (88,519) {Figure 11}.

Two-fifths of African immigrants have a bachelor’s degree or more education.

  • Just under one-fifth (16.1%) of African immigrants age 25 and older had a graduate degree (in addition to a bachelor’s degree) in 2010. In comparison, 10.4% of the U.S. population as a whole age 25 and over had a graduate degree in 2010 {Figure 12}.
  • Nearly one-quarter (24.2%) of African immigrants age 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree only in 2010. In comparison, 17.7% of the U.S. population as a whole age 25 and over had a bachelor’s degree only in 2010 {Figure 12}.

More than one-third of African immigrants work in professional jobs.

  • 37.7% of employed African immigrants age 16 and over worked in management, business, science, and arts occupations in 2010 {Figure 13}.
  • One-quarter (24.8%) of employed African immigrants age 16 and over worked in service occupations in 2010, while one-fifth (19.8%) worked in sales and office occupations {Figure 13}.

Published On: Thu, Jun 28, 2012 | Download File