Africans Are the Most Educated Immigrants in US: Report

Ifeozuwa Oyaniyi, 5, born in Nigeria, holds flags given to him by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services while waiting to receive his citizenship certificate on Feb. 19, 2013, in New York City. (John Moore/Getty Images)

In light of President Donald Trump’s recent “shithole” remarks, followed by a flood of exceptional-immigrant stories on social media to refute them, followed by commentary that said immigrants have nothing to prove, it should be noted that the facts actually bear out that that this nation would be much better off with more black Africans, who are some of the most educated people in the country and who contribute billions to the economy.


In fact, on average, African immigrants are better educated than the immigrant population as a whole and people born here in these United States.

Oh, and for those who think that this doesn’t refer to “black” or sub-Saharan Africa, that would be an incorrect assumption.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

[R]esearch found that of the 1.4 million [sub-Saharan African immigrants] who are 25 and older, 41% have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 30% of all immigrants and 32% of the U.S.-born population. Of the 19,000 U.S. immigrants from Norway — a country Trump reportedly told lawmakers is a good source of immigrants — 38% have college educations.


According to a report released last year, “How Sub-Saharan Africans Contribute to the U.S. Economy” (pdf), African immigrants were also significantly more likely to have graduate degrees, with 16 percent having a master’s degree, medical degree, law degree or doctorate, compared with 11 percent of the U.S.-born population.

According to the Times, although the number of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa is pretty small (about 1.7 million overall), the numbers have risen in recent years. Most African immigrants come from the following countries: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa, notably all nations where English is the primary language except for Ethiopia, where it is the most widely spoken foreign language.


Apparently, the diversity visa program, which 17 percent of Africans come through (as opposed to 5 percent of the total U.S. immigrant population), has been helpful in that applicants to the program must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. high school education or have at least two years of recent experience in occupations such as accountant, computer-support specialist, orthodontist and dancer.

And, according to Andrew Lim, a researcher at the think tank that wrote the report, sub-Saharan immigrants contribute more than $10.1 billion in federal taxes and $4.7 billion in state and local taxes, and wield $40.3 billion in spending power.


The state that benefits most from this money is Texas, followed by California, Maryland, New York and Georgia.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times and read the report here (pdf).

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.