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The African foreign-born population in the United States is small but growing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were approximately 364,000 African immigrants in 1990, and this population more than doubled to over 881,000 by 2000. The most recent estimates put the number of African foreign born at over 1 million. This Spotlight examines some of the key migration characteristics of the foreign born from Africa, using American Community Survey, census, and Department of Homeland Security data.
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There are over 1 million African foreign born in the United States.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (see related article), there were 1.0 million African foreign born residing in the United States in 2002.
|Box 1. Regions of Africa|
The largest group of African foreign born in the United States, by region of Africa, is made up of people from Western Africa.
Of the 1.0 million African foreign born, 35 percent were from Western Africa, followed by 26 percent from Eastern Africa, 20 percent from Northern Africa, 7 percent from Southern Africa, and less than 3 percent from Middle Africa, according to the 2002 American Community Survey (see Table 1 and Box 1).
There are over 100,000 foreign born from both Nigeria and Egypt.
The American Community Survey publishes a limited amount of country-specific data on the foreign born from Africa. In 2002, there were approximately 139,500 Nigerians and 108,000 Egyptians, followed by 87,500 Ethiopians, and 70,000 South Africans (see Table 1).
Only one in every three African immigrants is a naturalized citizen.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 34 percent of all African foreign born were naturalized citizens in 2002, while 66 percent were non-citizens.
Over half of all African immigrants are recent arrivals.
According to the results of Census 2000, 56 percent of all African foreign born arrived in the United States between 1990 and 2000, while 26 percent entered between 1980 and 1989, and 18 percent before 1980.
The African Foreign Born, by Region and Country of Birth in Africa, for the United States: 2002
The African foreign born represented about 6 percent of all immigrants who obtained legal permanent residence in 2002.
According to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics, 60,269 immigrants from Africa obtained legal permanent residence status in 2002, which represented 5.7 percent of the 1.1 million immigrants from around the world who obtained legal permanent residency.
The African countries with the highest numbers of immigrants obtaining legal permanent residency in 2002 were Nigeria and Ethiopia.
In 2002, 8,129 immigrants from Nigeria obtained permanent resident status, followed by Ethiopia with 7,574, Egypt with 4,875, Somalia with 4,537, and Ghana with 4,256, according to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics.
Of the 69,000 refugee arrivals in 2001, 28 percent were from Africa.
In 2001, there were 68,925 refugee arrivals to the United States, according to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Immigration Statistics. Of those, 19,070 or 28 percent were from Africa.
Most of the African refugee arrivals in 2001 were from Sudan and Somalia.
In 2001, of the 19,070 refugee arrivals from Africa, 31 percent were from Sudan, 26 percent from Somalia, 18 percent from Liberia, and 11 percent from Sierra Leone.