Children From Black Immigrant Families on Rise in the U.S.

Children of immigrant families from Africa and the Caribbean made up about 12 percent of the black population in the U.S. in 2009, according to a report released in April.

The growing population of children from black immigrant families represents an overall rise of immigration by African and Caribbean families to the U.S., increasing by 92 percent between 2000 and 2009.

As children from African and Caribbean immigrant families gain a larger share, the black youth population also becomes increasingly diverse, according to the report, which was conducted by the Migration Policy Institute.

Proportionally, immigrants from the sub-Saharan are one of the largest-growing immigrant groups, says Michael Fix, the vice president and director of studies at MPI.

In general, black immigrant parents had higher levels of education and English proficiency and were more likely to be employed.

Children in these families were similarly well educated from the start: They had the second-highest rate of prekindergarten enrollment, second only to children from Asian families.

“The stereotypes that people hold both about immigrants and about blacks are not easily supported upon close analysis of the data,” Fix said.

He said that children of black immigrant families tended to fare better than children from Hispanic families or children of black families, but that drilling down to country of origin helps to better understand how well—or worse off—they are.

For example, families from countries that had a longer immigration history with the U.S., such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Jamaica, tended to have higher advantages. Families from countries with a high number of refugees, such as Haiti, Somalia, and Sudan, tended to inherit more risks.

Close to 47 percent of black children from immigrant families are from the Caribbean; African immigrants make up about 39 percent.

The majority are concentrated on the East Coast—22 percent in New York and 18 percent in Florida. The percentage drops steeply from there—New Jersey, Maryland, and Georgia round out the top five states with about 5 to 6 percent each.

Source: National Journal

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