US immigration: Black US immigrant population rising

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New research shows that one-in-ten black people living in the United States are immigrants. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of US Census Bureau data, the black immigrant population could rise to 9.5 million by 2060, more than double the current 4.6 million living in the US that were born in another country.


In 1980, only 3% of the US population were black immigrants, but between 1980 and 2019, the black population in the US as a whole grew by 20 million with the black foreign-born population accounting for 19% of this growth.

According to the latest research, the black immigrant population will account for nearly a third of the entire black US population by 2060. The Pew Research Center also predicts that the black immigrant population will outpace the US-born black immigrant population in growth.


Both groups increasing in number

While the US-born and non-US born black populations are both seeing a surge, the foreign-born black population is projected to grow by 90% between 2020 and 2060, while the US-born black population is only expected to grow by 29% over the same time period.

The research shows that the rise in foreign-born black population numbers has been fueled by arrivals from Africa from 2000 onwards. In 2000, approximately 560,000 African-born black immigrants lived in the US.

By 2019, this number had more than tripled to 1.9 million and many of the immigrants are ‘newer’ arrivals to the US. 

According to the data 43% of African-born black immigrants came to America between 2010 and 2019, higher than the percentage of all US immigrants (25%) and black immigrants from the Caribbean (21%), Central America (18%) and South America (24%) during the same timeframe.


Children of black immigrants

Meanwhile, the data found that a significant share of the black American population today are the children of black immigrants. Approximately 9% of black people are second-generation Americans – meaning they were born in the US, but have at least one foreign-born parent.

In total, black immigrants and their US-born children account for 21% of the overall black population in America.

The Caribbean is the largest origin source of black immigrants, but arrivals from Africa are the fastest growing. Nevertheless, the Caribbean remains the most common region of birth for black immigrants.

According to the data, just under 50% of the foreign-born black population were born in the Caribbean region, with Jamaica (16%) and Haiti (15%) accounting for the most black immigrant arrivals in the US from this region.


US immigration status

The Pew Research Center’s findings also highlighted that the immigration status of black foreign-born nationals differs from the USA’s overall immigrant population. For example, 60% of black immigrants are naturalized US citizens, while only 52% of all US immigrants hold the same status.

However, citizenship rates do differ among black immigrants, with South American- and Caribbean-born immigrants having the highest citizenship rates with 66% and 65% respectively.

Meanwhile, 55% of African-born immigrants hold US citizenship status and 48% of Central American or Mexican-born black immigrants also have US citizenship.

The types of US visas issued to black immigrants also differs to those issued to the overall US immigrant population. Most black African-born immigrants are granted entry into the US via the diversity visa scheme.

However, the most common way for immigrants to enter the US overall is through family sponsorship.

The research also found that black immigrants are less likely than other US immigrants to be in America without authorization. In 2017, there were 625,000 (14%) black immigrants living in the US illegally, while 23% of America’s overall immigrant population of 45 million were in the country without authorization. can help with US employment-based visas

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