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Migration Policy Institute Releases Data on African-born Living in the United States

Press Release
Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Migration Policy Institute Releases Data on African-born Living in the United States

Washington, D.C. (August 06, 2003) – Just weeks after President Bush’s trip to Africa and as the U.S. involvement in and attention to that continent increases, the Migration Information Source releases data and analysis on the rising number of African-born residents across the country.

“Africans have a growing presence in cities across the United States, from New York to Los Angeles, Washington to Minneapolis, and Atlanta to Seattle,” says Jill Wilson, author of “African-born Residents of the United States,” located at www.migrationinformation.org. “Africans are scattered throughout the country, but the highest concentrations are near large cities and in the Northeast. Like many immigrants, the African born are highly urbanized, with 95 percent residing in a metropolitan area in 2000. Almost one-half live in just 10 cities.”

Metropolitan Area African-born population African percent of Total African percent of Foreign Born Share of U.S. African Population
New York, NY 99,126 1.06 3.16 11.25
Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV 93,271 1.89 11.21 10.58
Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA 43,024 0.45 1.25 4.88
Atlanta, GA 36,645 0.89 8.7 4.16
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI 30,388 1.02 14.4 3.45
Boston, MA-NH 29,475 0.87 5.80 3.34
Houston, TX 26,266 0.63 3.07 2.98
Chicago, IL 23,355 0.28 1.64 2.65
Dallas, TX 20,975 0.60 3.55 2.38
Philadelphia, PA-NJ 20,391 0.40 5.71 2.31
Newark, NJ 18,086 0.89 4.69 2.05
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA 16,108 0.67 4.85 1.83
Middlesex-Somerset-Hunerdon, NJ 13,142 1.12 5.40 1.49
Baltimore, MD 13,007 0.51 8.90 1.48
Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA 12,380 1.04 8.67 1.40
Oakland, CA 12,006 0.50 2.09 1.36
Jersey City, NJ 11,961 1.96 5.10 1.36
San Diego, CA 11,905 0.42 2.0 1.35
Columbus, OH 11,114 0.72 15.6 1.26
Orange County, CA 10,387 0.36 1.22 1.18
Detroit, MI 9,532 0.21 2.84 1.08
San Jose, CA 8,699 0.52 1.52 0.99
Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC 7,910 0.67 7.3 0.90
Nassau-Suffolk, NY 7,786 0.28 1.96 0.88
Denver, CO 7,616 0.36 3.27 0.86

“Recent years have seen a significant rise in the number of African born residing in the U.S.,” continues Wilson. “In fact, the 2000 Census counted almost 900,000 U.S. residents who were born in African countries – and more than half of these entered the country between 1990 and 2000.”

West Africans make up the largest proportion (36 percent) of the African born, followed by East Africans and North Africans. Of the 326,507 West Africans living in the U.S., 134,940 were born in Nigeria, 65,572 were born in Ghana and 20,831 were born in Sierra Leone.

 “Migration and refugee flows are actively and continuously shaping the African continent,” says Kimberly Hamilton, managing editor of The Source and director of external relations at the Migration Policy Institute. “While conflict in certain areas spurs internal displacement and exodus across borders, the search for greater economic and educational opportunities has fostered new and growing migrant networks in much more distant countries, such as the United States.”