The African Times/USA

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African Immigrants in the United States

This topic overview is based on research by Helina Faris of the Immigration team at the Center for American Progress.

Of the millions immigrants living in the United States,  Latinos and Asians are mentioned most prominently, however black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean —who comprise 8 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population—are most often left out.

Here are some key facts about this often-overlooked group.

1. Black immigrants are a significant group in the United States—more than 3 million people comprising 8 percent of the U.S. foreign-born population.  Half come from the Caribbean, with the rest coming from Northern and sub-Saharan Africa. A small number come from Europe and Canada. Black immigrants account for more than one-quarter of the black population in New York, Boston, and Miami.

2. Black immigrants arrive in the United States through multiple pathways. Refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, and Eritrea accounted for 30 percent of all black African immigrants in 2009, while around one-fifth of black African immigrants entered the United States through the diversity visa lottery program—which provides 55,000 visas each year to countries underrepresented in immigrant streams to the United States. Around 400,000 black immigrants in the United States are here without legal status.

3. Black immigrants are one of the most-educated immigrant groups. African immigrants have more college education and higher rates of degree attainment than any other immigrant group in the United States.

4. Black immigrants face many challenges in the United States. Even with high levels of education, black immigrants tend to earn low wages compared to other similarly trained immigrant or native workers. Black immigrants have the highest unemployment rate—12.5 percent—of any foreign-born group in the United States.

Remittance Economics

As to remittances (money we sent back home) hit an all-time high in 2018, the World Bank reported. The total reached $529 billion, greater than foreign investment as a source of outside cash for the developing world.  Money is also getting cheaper to send, thanks to a fintech industry that’s sprung up around cross-border transfers. The average cost of sending $200 is 7%, according to the World Bank, but the best of these firms only charge 2%--so it seems the industry has a future, and immigrants will stan to save some money.

Here is a closer look - Togolese nationals living outside the country sent home more than $500 million in 2018, per the latest update by the World Bank.  This places Togo as tenth in terms of remittances.

The remittances sent by Togolese represent 8.5% of the country’s GDP, the strongest ratio in the sub-Saharan Africa region, ahead of nations like Nigeria and Ghana who receive a much larger remittance receipts.

Diaspora remittance money, as gifts of love, are better focused on building the family and hence the nation. The distribution of these Diaspora remittance funds is far more efficient than ODA funds since these monies go directly to paying school fees, building houses, and growing businesses

 The latest World Bank figures show that in 2012, the worldly Africans sent back home US $60 billion.  What all this demonstrates is that the more than 140 million Africans outside of Africa are sending far more money than all other official international donners combined.