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African immigrants in the US are better educated than in Europe

Reuters/Brian Snyder
A senior with “Infinite Possibilities” written on her cap waits to graduate during Commencement at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S., May 21, 2017
By Yomi Kazeem
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The most educated sub-Saharan Africans tend to migrate to the US rather than to a European country, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of 2015 U.S. Census Bureau and Eurostat data.

Among immigrants in the US aged 25 and above, 69% had some college experiencehigher than sub-Sahran African immigrants in the UK, France, Portugal, and Italy, the analysis showed. As a result, sub-Saharan immigrants in the US are more likely to have jobs compared to their counterparts in the UK, France, Italy and Portugal.

Pew’s analysis also showed that immigrants across the major destinations are usually more likely to be better educated than native born populations—the only exception is Italy. In some cases, local migration policies are a factor in the education level of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. For example, the US diversity program, through which about a quarter of sub-Saharan African immigrants entered the country, requires applicants to have at least high school education. As a result, only 11% of sub-Saharan African immigrants in the US have less than a high school education.

The ability to speak local languages, a key advantage to gaining employment and living in a new country, also drives the flow of sub-Saharan immigrants, Pew’s report said, and many immigrants choose the European country that originally colonized their native country. The top three birthplaces for sub-Saharan immigrants in France and Portugal, are Francophone and Lusophone speaking African countries.

Collectively, the US, UK, France, Italy, and Portugal accounted for 57% of sub-Saharan immigrants living outside sub-Saharan Africa in 2015over the last decade, sub-Saharan African population has increased by at least a million. Most emigrants in the region choose another country in sub-Saharan Africa as their place of immigration.

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