Immigrants Are a Growing Share of U.S. Black Population

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 02:  Fatoumata Sangary (R) sits with her mother Janet Dweh at a naturalization ceremony in downtown Manhattan on July 2, 2013 in New York City. Dweh was sworn in as an American citizen and Sangary already was one. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted three naturalization ceremonies for 450 people today in Manhattan ahead of the July 4th holiday.  (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Immigrants Are a Growing Share of U.S. Black Population

A growing number of foreign born Blacks are making up the African-American population, according to a recent Pew Research Center report.

Published April 16, 2015

The makeup of the African-American population continues to change as more foreign born Blacks move to the country, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center. In 1980, Black immigrants were 3.1 percent of the African-American population. In 2013, they made up 8.7 percent.  

Jamaica, Haiti, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago and Ethiopia are the top five birthplaces for foreign-born Blacks. Most move to the Northeast and the South in equal amounts.

And even though the Caribbean population continues to be where most are born, the population of Black immigrants born in Africa has increased by 137 percent. Almost one-third of African immigrants enter as refugees or asylees. Most foreign-born Blacks enter by way of relatives who are U.S. citizens.

The report reveals many differences between foreign-born Blacks and U.S. Blacks. The median age of foreign-born Blacks is 42, compared to the median age of U.S. Blacks, which is 29. The median household income for foreign-born Blacks is $43,800, which is higher than the average for American-born Blacks, which is $33,500. Also, 26 percent of Black immigrants are degree holders, compared to 19 percent of U.S.-born Blacks.

Compared to Asian and Latino immigrants, Black immigrants have a significantly higher English-proficiency. Additionally, more than one-third of Black immigrants from Africa have a college degree, more than the U.S. population. Blacks coming from South America follow with 25 percent. 

Even with higher income averages and education, foreign-born Blacks are less likely to be homeowners. Twenty percent are living in poverty, while 28 percent of U.S.-born Blacks are living below the poverty line.

Read the full report here.

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(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Written by Natelege Whaley


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