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African Americans vs. Immigrants


Why do African immigrants tend to be more successful than African Americans given that they face the same kinds of racial discrimination?

The truth is, they don't.


As the ‘different flavors of black’ emerge, different economies are also emerging. The Nielsen research finds that the median household income for foreign-born blacks is 30% higher than U.S.-born blacks.

“High numbers are college-educated, and not only have college degrees, but also masters, he adds.

McCaskill also says that the black immigrant population in the U.S. has a higher percentage of entrepreneurs, and an increased ability to keep dollars in their own communities.


Many Nigerian immigrants set down roots in the U.S. in the 1970s, when the Nigerian government sponsored students to study at top universities in the United Kingdom and the U.S. For decades, the American government has preferred giving visas to those deemed useful.

My parents brought my family to the U.S. via a diversity visa that requires applicants to either complete high school (in a country whose secondary school completion rate was more than 47 percent in 2010) or have two years of “qualifying work experience” (again, in an economic context where almost one-third of the population is currently unemployed).

Still, immigrants can come to the U.S. without much financial security. But African Americans with ancestral ties to slavery carry with them the disadvantage of being systematically denied the opportunity to accrue wealth. The intertwined effects of slavery, Jim Crow, and now mass incarceration continue to be felt today in the vicious cycle of wealth inequality. A long history of employment discrimination leads to higher unemployment rates and jobs that pay less. African Americans are less likely to be homeowners today because of historical mortgage discrimination and redlining. While African immigrants can, and certainly do, experience discrimination that harms them financially, there are advantages that come with “starting fresh” and being perceived as a model minority.


Black immigrants from the Caribbean have long attained greater labor market success than African Americans. The most recent studies show that Afro Caribbeans have earnings that are approximately 16% greater than African Americans and that Afro Caribbeans are as much as 21% more likely to be employed than African Americans.

African Immigrants: Education

Africans’ identity related more to their focus on education than their race, reflected in a higher proportion who felt intense family pressure to attend college (65%) compared to African Americans (37%) and whites (39%). Interview data confirmed previous reports in the literature that African Americans lack a sense of connection to Africans, attributed to Africans’ purported sense of superiority and disregard for African Americans’ ongoing struggle to end oppression.

African Americans: Labor Market

The author searches for patterns in the African American response to immigrants in several metropolitan areas with above-average immigrant populations, to examine whether immigration has had a negative effect of the labor market participation of African Americans.

Brief Synopsis:

Besides personal accountability & responsibility; Africans are sponsored by African governments to study in the USA, immigrants are more pressured by family to go to college, high number of African immigrants already have college degrees, and have two-year qualifying work experience for employment (due to visa requirements), the left-over effects of redlining in African American communities. Lack of government funding for education in minority communities (compared to white communities) culture, focus on education (more explained in article), rejection in start-up loans by banks for African American entrepreneurs, higher default on loans. Increased ability to keep dollars in their own communities.

Also Read: Why some immigrant entrepreneurs thrive where African American entrepreneurs cannot

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