America’s Black Population Increasingly Made Up Of African Immigrants

America’s Black Population Increasingly Made Up Of African Immigrants


Any baseball fan who was around in the ‘60s would probably remember Tony Oliva, the admired former Minnesota Twins right fielder, three-time batting champion and eight-time All-Star.

Oliva, an immigrant from Cuba, spoke to scores of people during a recent Green Card Voices dinner in Minneapolis about his journey to Minnesota and how the U.S. is an open field for those willing to turn their dreams into reality, whatever the color of their skin.

“In this country, you have a chance to achieve your dream,” he told the crowd. “My dream was to play baseball. I wasn’t able to play [in major leagues] in Cuba, but I was able to play in the United States.”

Like Oliva, millions of black immigrants are finding their way to the United States in pursuit of success and a better life. And according to an April Pew Research Centerreport, a recent stream of immigrants from the Caribbean and African countries has swollen and reshaped the general population of the nation’s black communities.

A record 3.8 million foreign-born black immigrants now live in the U.S., making it 9 percent of the U.S. black population, a leap from 3.1 percent in 1980, the report states. The rise of black immigration in the U.S. is expected to continue, with the report projecting that 16.5 percent of the U.S. black population will be foreign-born by 2060.

Though black immigrants arrive on American shores from many parts of the world, those from the Caribbean make up half of the black foreign-born population. Jamaica and Haiti represent the largest population among black immigrants, with 682,000 immigrants from Jamaica and 586,000 from Haiti.

In recent years, however, the influx of immigrants from Africa has ballooned the black immigrant population, the report states. Between 2000 and 2013, the number of African immigrants increased from 574,000 to 1.4 million. Today, Africans account for 36 percent of the total black immigrant population in the nation.

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