To cap off Black History Month this year, we take a look at how Black immigrants in the United States are making their mark today as workers, consumers, taxpayers, and voters.
Compared to larger immigrant groups like Hispanics or Asians, there has been little research on Black immigrants’ socioeconomic characteristics. Building on our previous research that only looked at immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, we expand our scope this year to look at Black immigrants from all over the world to better reflect the wide diversity of these new Americans, regardless of their country of birth.
In this brief, we define a Black immigrant as any person who was born outside the United States to non-U.S. citizen parents and who identifies as Black or African American in the American Community Survey.
What the numbers reveal is that the influence of Black immigrants is increasing rapidly. Some of this is due to the growth of their population in the United States.
Between 2010 and 2018, the number of Black immigrants grew from 3.3 million people to more than 4.3 million—an increase of 30 percent. Our findings show that Black immigrants punch well above their weight in many respects.
Black immigrants have higher than average rates of naturalization and English language proficiency among immigrants. They also serve in critical roles in the healthcare industry—an industry facing unprecedented labor shortages.
We also find that African immigrants, many of those who come through the diversity visa lottery or as refugees, actually have much higher levels of educational attainment than the overall U.S. average.