Some fascinating facts from a new paper by Elo, Frankenberg, Gansey, and Thomas:
- The number of migrants to the U.S. from Africa has exploded in recent years, and for the first time in America’s history Africans are the most rapidly growing group of foreign-born migrants.
- Some 1.73 million African-born migrants live in the U.S., accounting for about 4% of the foreign-born population
- Since the 1950s the number of foreign-born who have become legal permanent residents has quadrupled, but the number from Africa has increased nearly 60-fold—a rate of growth more than twice that for migrants from Asia, the next fastest growing source of new Americans.
- In the 1950s, Morocco, South Africa and Egypt accounted for 60% of migrants from Africa. The vast majority were white. [In 2011] close to three quarters of African-born migrants in the U.S. self-identify as black.
- Changes in immigration policy such as the 1980 Refugee Act, the 1990 Immigration Act, and the Diversity Visa Program have fueled some of the increase.
- In the 1980s nearly three-quarters of legal permanent residents from Africa entered the U.S. on family-based visas. …By 2010, employment visas accounted for around 45% of all visas issued to African legal permanent residents.
- nowadays about one-quarter of all African-origin legal permanent residents entered as refugees. …One-third of refugees over the last 3 decades were born in Sudan and Somalia, one-quarter were born in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and most of the rest were born in Liberia and East Africa.