The demographics of America’s Black population are in the middle of a major shift, with 1 in 10 having been born outside the United States, reports the Washington Post. That’s 4.6 million Americans, a figure that is projected to grow to 9.5 million by 2060, according to the findings of a Pew Research Center study published Thursday.
“When we talk about the nation’s Black population, we have to understand it is one that is changing and becoming even more diverse than it already was, and immigrants are a big part of that story and so the immigrant experience is a growing part of the experience of Black Americans today,” said Mark Lopez, Pew’s director of race and ethnicity research.
Black immigrants and their American-born children make up 21 percent of the nation’s Black population, with an increasing number of migrants coming from Africa, according to the report. Lopez said it’s a group that often is overlooked in discussions about immigration.
“Usually when folks talk about the nation’s immigrant population, they talk about the two largest groups, Latin Americans, who make up about half of the nation’s 45 million immigrants, and then Asian immigrants, who make up another quarter of the overall population of immigrants,” Lopez said. “The story of Black immigration is one not as much a part of the conversation, yet it’s been ongoing for decades.”
While Black immigrants have much in common with both U.S.-born Black Americans and other immigrant groups, their experience stands apart in a number of ways. Nearly a third of Black immigrants over the age of 25 have a college degree, compared with 22 percent of U.S.-born Black Americans, the Pew report notes. Black immigrant households have a higher median income —
$57,200 — compared with U.S.-born Black households at $42,000, but lower than that of other immigrant-led households.