Increase in African immigration to the US

Things to know about Obama’s immigration reformThe amount of immigrants coming to the United States from Africa has been increasingly steadily since the 1970s, according to Pew Research Center’s new analysis of census information. In the 1970s African immigrants made up just 0.8% of the population; however, by 2013 this figure had risen as high as 4.4%.

There were 80,000 immigrants from Africa in the United States in 1970, which increased to 200,000 by 1980. The figure rose further to 364,000 in 1990 and 881,000 in 2000. The foreign-born African population of the United States in 2013 was 1.8 million. “When compared with the other major groups who arrived in the US in the past five years, African had the fastest growth rate from 2000 to 2013, increasing by 41% during that period,” the Pew analysis states.

Pew says that the Refugee Act of 1980 was one of the most likely reasons for the increasing number of African immigrants coming to the United States. 32% of all refugees arriving in America today are from Africa, while back in 1980 the percentage was less than 1%.

Another possible reason highlighted by Pew is a US visa program that began in the 1990s. Known as ‘the diversity visa program’, this was intended to increase the number of immigrants to the US from nations that had previously been under-represented.