FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

African Immigrants: Entering a Racial Wealth Divide

Historically and contemporarily, the topic of immigration ignites many of the passions revolving around the central socio-economic issues of the time. The immigration of African people to the United States deeply intersects with ongoing racial economic inequality and how the inequality of the past is being replicated intothe future. Currently, the United States has an immigrant population of about 43.4 million, with African immigrants making up roughly 3.9 percent of all immigrants in 2009.

These 1.7 million mostly Black immigrants come to this country in pursuit of the “American Dream” of economic opportunity and prosperity yet find that the racial economic inequality that has prevented most African Americans from ever fully participating in the “American Dream” also is a barrier to their economic advancement.

The number of Black immigrants living in the US has risen 13-fold from 1970 to 2010, increasing their share of the Black population from 1% to 10%. African immigrants make up about 40% of the Black immigrant population, with most Black immigrants coming from the West Indies.

Like most immigrant groups, African immigrants create their own social enclave here in the United States, but this enclave exists within spaces defined by native social hierarchies and communities. African immigrants are disproportionately found in big American cities and usually carve out their own geographical concentration in an area that has historically been populated by African Americans.

In the 2009 US Census, nearly 80% of African immigrants reported their race as “Black,” which is a major change from 1980 when 42% of African immigrants reported their race as White —likely reflecting a stronger presence of North African or Arab immigrants.

African immigrants are most often some of the most highly educated from their native countries and have higher educational attainment levels than most native-born Americans. Over 40% of African immigrants have completed four or more years of college.

For such a highly educated and predominately English-speaking community, one would expect economic results far stronger than have been documented thus far. In 2007, African immigrants’ median income, based on 2007 data, was a mere $44,000 compared to a national median income of $50,740. To put this in perspective, according to the American Community Survey, from 2010-2014 only 20% of White Americans had a bachelor’s degree but had a median salary of almost $60,000.

The 2009 American Community Survey also shows, that a greater share of African immigrants lived in a household with an annual income below the federal poverty line at 18.5% than the native- born Americans (13.6%) and immigrants overall at 17.3% despite their higher educational levels.

Much more work must be done to examine in depth how African immigrants fit into the American racial wealth divide, but for now it is important to note that even African’s immigrating from another continent do not escape the long history and contemporary reality of Black Americans having a lower socio-economic status.

Coauthored with Natalie Gerber, Racial Wealth Divide Initiative Intern.

More articles by:

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is host of the Race and Wealth Podcast and Director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at the Corporation for Economic Development.

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail