African Immigrants Are More Likely To Have Bachelor's Degrees Than Native-Born Americans

Take a look at these facts and figures.

During a bipartisan meeting about immigration and Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) the other week, President Trump reportedly referred to immigrants from African nations as coming from "shithole countries" and wondered why we couldn't welcome more immigrants from Norway instead.

In the days since allegedly he made the disparaging statement, numerous reports have emerged detailing how immigrants from African countries are more likely to be educated than native-born Americans.


As The Root points out, these findings apply to sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the continent as well. Per The Los Angeles Times, 41 percent of the 1.4 million sub-Saharan African immigrants who are 25 and older have a bachelor's degree, compared with 30 percent of all immigrants and 32 percent of the U.S.-born population. Furthermore, according to U.S Census Bureau data, Nigerian immigrants have the highest education attainment level in the United States, surpassing every other ethnic group in the country.

Similarly, a report released by New American Economy last year found that 16 percent of African immigrants have a master's degree, medical degree, law degree or doctorate, compared with 11 percent of the U.S.-born population. Of the 19,000 U.S. immigrants from Norway — the country Trump lauded in that same meeting — only 38 percent have college educations.

African immigrants aren't just better educated, they are also more likely to participate in the labor force and much less likely to commit violent crimes than native-born Americans, as noted by The Chicago Tribune. Additionally, sub-Saharan immigrants contribute more than $10.1 billion in federal taxes and $4.7 billion in state and local taxes, and wield $40.3 billion in spending power.

Of course, for some, immigration status shouldn't be decided based on the decrees, accolades, or wealth any individual has accrued. Earlier this year, Pope Francis made his thoughts on the immigration and refugees clear when he said, "There is a need, then, to abandon the familiar rhetoric and start from the essential consideration that we are dealing, above all, with persons."

Cover image via Nataly Reinch /


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