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5 Sources of Black Immigrants in the US

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According to data scientists from American Immigration Council, the black community is a large and fast-growing demographic in the United States. In 2019,  the black immigrant population in the US was 4.6 million and is expected to account for almost a third of the country’s population growth by 2060.

The sources of African immigrants in the United States are diverse and multifaceted. From the African nations to the Caribbean, these communities reflect a complex interplay of historical legacies, economic opportunities, political challenges, and personal aspirations. 

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Here are the five main sources of black immigrants in the USA. These groups have massively shaped the nation’s social, political, economic, and cultural well-being. 

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Caribbean Countries

Due to its physical positioning,  Jamaica was cleaning houses for slaves en route to North America.  The First group of people to immigrate to America were doing so as part-time immigrants.  They would immigrate during harvesting and, as soon as it was over, return home.  By World War 1 started,  Americans had employed more than 250,000  people from the Caribbean to work on the Panama Canal.

There has been a massive wave of immigration from the Caribbean Nations. These black people usually come from Haiti. From this group,  Jamaicans consist of the largest group in the region. According to the US Census Bureau, there are more than 8.5 million people whose origin is Caribbean region. 

Below is a table showing where the black population of Caribbean origin resides in the US.

Metropolitan AreaCaribbean Population% of the Total Area Population
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fl Metro Area43,0005.9%
Houston- The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metropolitan area57,0000.8%
Washington- Arlington- Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV metropolitan area66,0001.1%
Philadelphia- Camden- Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD metropolitan area80,0001.3%
Atlanta- Sandy Springs- Alpharetta, GA metropolitan area85,0001.4%
Tampa- St. Petersburg Clearwater, FL metropolitan area115,0003.7%
Orlando- Kissimmee-Sanford, FL metropolitan area143,0005.7%
Boston- Cambridge- Newton, MA-NH metropolitan area165,0003.4%
Miami- Fort Lauderdale- Pompano Beach, FL metropolitan area1,289,00021.2%
New York- Newark-Jersey City NY-NJ-PA metropolitan area1,333,0006.9%

Table source: Migration Policy

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African Nations 

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Negros for Sale Letter Image. Image Source: Library of Congress

From the 16th century,  Traders and business people from Europe and USA engaged in the transatlantic slave trade. They transported black people from Africa, especially West Africa,  as slaves to provide cheap labor in their enterprises. Millions were enslaved to work in Fruits orchards and wheat plantations.

Slave importation was legal in the US Constitution.  However,  in 1808 it was rendered illegal but continued on a large scale. The slaves highly contributed to the financial and economic growth of the Nation. They were forced to engage in every type of task and trade. For instance, they mined iron and lead. Others were hardworking in docks and fishing boats, while others were in printing presses. 

In recent years, many Africans have moved to the US to seek asylum due to political unrest in different nations. Similarly, people move to the US to seek better opportunities through scholarships and diversity immigrant visa program.

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Seeking Asylum

A good number of black immigrants, especially people from Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan, are in the US as refugees or asylum seekers. They fled their nations due to political issues or belonging to a particular social group.

For a long time, America has been known to grant asylum to many people and continues to do even to date. This is a massive source of black Americans in the US.

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Academic and Employment Opportunities

A strong economy and higher living standards attract many immigrants to the US. In addition, pursuing academic excellence has seen many black people get to America. The vast majority of black immigrants come here to attend universities, conduct research or take up skilled professions. These opportunities help immigrants improve their lives. 

Most people of African origin seek greener opportunities due to an increasing poverty rate in their most common region of birth.

Reuniting with Family

A significant number of people seek to reunite with their families that are in the US. Family bonding,  parenting,  and the prospect of building a better future propel people to reunite. 

Since the US has a family-based immigration pathway,  the blacks living here can sponsor their loved ones, spouses, and other relatives, for visas.

States Populous with Black Immigrants

The table below shows the top five states with more black immigrants.

StateBlack ImmigrantsTotal PopulationShare of State Population
New Jersy225,2059,267,1302.4%
Maryland239,1586,165,1293.9%
Texas319,91129,527,9401.1%
Florida676,58021,781,1283.1%
New  York737,45819,835,9123.7%

Table Source: Census.gov

Although the means through which many black people immigrated to America was challenging and demeaning to some, it didn’t deter them to make inventions in almost every sector. Black immigrants initiated most industries. A good example is inventors who made contributions to the culinary sector. 

Others rose and excelled in their undertakings and became billionaires. Whichever way each black person immigrated to the US, the above are the common sources.

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