Europe’s black population has increased by at least a million over the last decade

On the move.
On the move.
Image: Reuters/Giorgos Moutafis
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Europe’s black population has grown dramatically over the last decade.

There were nearly one million asylum applicants from sub-Saharan Africa in Europe between 2010 and 2017, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from Eurostat. While Pew Research Center isn’t able to speculate whether the inflow of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa will rise at the same pace in the coming years, a separate 2017 Pew Research Center survey conducted in six sub-Saharan countries found that many respondents said they would migrate to another country if they had the chance.

Sub-Saharan migrants in Europe arrive from a diverse set of origins. More than half of migrants who sought asylum in Europe in 2017 were born in Nigeria, South Africa, Somalia, Senegal, Ghana, Angola, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon. Pew Research Center notes that the total number of Somali migrants in Europe increased by 80,000 people between 2010 and 2017. Over the same period, the total population of Eritreans living in Europe increased by about 40,000.

Nearly three-quarters of Europe’s sub-Saharan migrant population lived in just four countries: the UK (1.27 million), France (980,000), Italy (370,000) and Portugal (360,000).

It’s difficult to quantify the overall black population in Europe, simply because many European countries refuse to collect racial data on their citizens. Instead, some European countries collect data on the country of origin of its migrant population and the number of citizens who are children of migrants.  With a pan-European black identity starting to emerge in recent years, there are calls for the EU to begin collecting racial data.

The United States Congress estimates that seven million (pdf) people of African descent were living in Europe in 2011.