E.g., 06/08/2023
E.g., 06/08/2023
Diverse Streams: African Migration to the United States

Black African immigrants represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. immigrant population, increasing by about 200 percent during the 1980s and 1990s and by 100 percent during the 2000s. This report, part of MPI's Young Children of Black Immigrants in America research initiative, finds African immigrants generally fare well on integration indicators, with college completion rates that greatly exceed those for most other immigrant groups and U.S. natives.

The United States, Canada, and Australia disproportionally attract better-educated African migrants then do the United Kingdom, France, and other European countries. Black Africans are much more likely than other immigrant groups to be admitted to the United States as refugees or through the diversity visa program. In part because of their various channels of admission, Black African immigrants to the United States comprise a population that is rapidly becoming more diverse in its origins.

Despite higher levels of human capital, high employment rates, and strong English skills, African immigrants’ earnings lag those of the native born.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction: A Long History of Black African Migration

II. A Rapidly Rising New Immigrant Population

III. Increasingly Diverse Origins

IV. Diverse Modes of Entry and Legal Statuses

V. Black Africans Younger and More Likely to be Men than Immigrants Overall

VI. Geographic Settlement Patterns Similar to U.S.-Born Blacks

VII. More Human Capital than Other U.S. Immigrants

VIII. High Employment Rates But Relatively Low Earnings

IX. Underemployment of High-Skilled Africans in the U.S. Workforce

X. Conclusion: Prospects for Future African Immigration Flows