Black immigrants have greatly contributed to the growth as well as the diversity of the Black population in the United States. According to a report released by the Pew Research Center, the population of Black immigrants has increased to 4.6 million in 2019 from 800,000 in 1980, and it is expected to reach 9.5 million by 2060. This increase in the number of Black immigrants in the U.S. is about 19%. During the same period, the overall Black population increased by 20 million!
10% of Black people in the U.S. are migrants
In fact, 10% of all Black people in the United States are immigrants. About 12% of Black people were born in foreign countries, whereas roughly 9% of them are second-generation Americans. This means that they were born in the U.S. and have at least one parent who was born in a foreign country – either African nations, the Caribbean, Latin America, or Mexico. Together, these two groups comprise 21% of the overall Black population in the U.S. However, compared to other migrants to the U.S., such as Hispanics or Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, their share is less.
A large section of Black people is immigrants
A large section of the Black population in the United States has immigrant connections. An estimated 58% of Black immigrants arrived in the United States after 2000, and 31% of them came between 2000 and 2019. Compared to this, 27% of Black people migrated to the United States between 2000 and 2009. Among these migrants, African-born people arrived in the U.S. more recently – about 43% of them arrived between 2010 and 2019. On the other hand, Black people born in other countries such as the Caribbean, South America, Central America, or Mexico arrived before 2000.
According to the United States Census Bureau, people from Africa account for the fastest growth of Black immigrants in the United States, but the Caribbean islands remain the most common region of birth for U.S. Black immigrants. Among the Caribbean nations, Jamaica and Haiti are the top countries of origin for Black immigrants accounting for 31% of the U.S. Black immigrant population in 2019. People from Africa and the Caribbean together comprise almost 88% of the total foreign-born Black population in the United States.
Top 10 countries for Black immigrants
However, the total share of Black migrants from Africa and the Caribbean dropped in 2000, underlining the increasing diversity among Black immigrants. Aside from the Caribbean, Nigeria and Ethiopia were the next most common birthplaces for Black immigrants, accounting for about 390,000 and 260,000 immigrants, respectively. The top 10 origin countries for Black immigrants are all in Africa or the Caribbean. Together, these 10 nations account for 66% of the foreign-born Black population.
African immigrants had the fastest growth
The Black African population in the U.S. grew the fastest between 2000 and 2019 among all Black immigrants to the country. Precisely speaking, the Black African immigrant population grew 246%, from about 600,000 to 2.0 million. Now, people of African origin make up 42% of the country’s foreign-born Black population, up from a mere 23% in 2000. However, the Caribbean islands still remain the most common region of birth for U.S. Black immigrants. A little under half (46%) of the foreign-born Black population was born in the Caribbean islands.
Black American immigrants with college degrees
Over the years, an increasing number of Black immigrants have earned college degrees or higher. The number of graduate Black immigrants in the United States increased rapidly between 2000 and 2019. At least 31% of Black immigrants aged 25 or older had earned at least a graduate degree by 2019 – up from 21% in 2000. This is also a 10% higher increase than that of the American-born Black population. The increase in the overall U.S.-born population is 9% and the entire immigrant population is 9%.
According to the Pew Research Center report, in general, Black immigrants earn college degrees at a similar rate to all U.S. immigrants. While 31% of Black immigrants aged 25 and above had college degrees in 2019, 33% of the entire U.S. migrants were graduates.
The largest Black immigrant population in New York
Among the metropolitan areas in the United States, New York City houses the largest number of Black immigrants – over 1.2 million people. Miami metro area comes second with an estimated Black immigrant population of over 490,000. The Washington D.C. area is third in this series housing about 260,000 Black immigrants. The other metropolitan areas having a significant number of Black immigrants include Boston, Dallas, Houston, and Atlanta.
The settlements of the Black immigrant population also vary according to the countries of their origin. For instance, New York City metropolitan area houses an estimated 35% of the country’s Black Jamaican immigrants, while over 35% of the Black Haitian immigrants have settled in the Miami area. Similarly, 20% of the Black immigrants from Ethiopia have settled in the Washington D.C. area.
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