The face of America’s biggest immigrant groups has changed tremendously in recent years, according to new data from the Pew Research Center. Africans are now one of the most-rapidly growing immigrant groups in the US. Since 1970, the population for Africans born abroad that have immigrated to the country has doubled each decade.
Overall, the immigrant group is still relatively small, as Africans only make up 4.4 percent of the US’s immigrant population. However, from 2000 to 2013 alone, the number of African immigrants in the country has increased by a whopping 41 percent. In 2000, there were 881,000 Africans in the US according to census data. By 2013, that number had grown all the way to 1.8 million.
That is quite the increase from 1970, when the population had only been 80,000. By 2060, it is expected that immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, South and Central America, Europe and Asia will make up approximately 16.5 percent of the Black America at large.
Researchers attribute the population growth of African immigrants to new laws that were passed in the 1980s and 1990s to facilitate war/political refugees in their efforts to leave their native countries. Almost half of the African population in America are from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana and Kenya.
The majority of African immigrants move to the American South or Northeast regions, while there are tightly knit communities of Somalians and Ethiopians in Minnesota and South Dakota respectively. Analysts express their concern for sending countries, as the fast-growing exodus of their citizens means brain drain that directly has an impact on their internal structures.
This brain drain is evident in the education levels of the African immigrants that have arrived in the US. Thirty percent of African immigrants in New York City alone have received degrees at the college level, compared to only 18 percent of Caribbean immigrants and 22 percent of African Americans.