Nigerian Immigrants Are Now Top, Largest African Community In U.S

Nigerians make up the largest African diaspora population in the U.S. at 327,000, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

The center said as of 2015, there were nearly 2.1 million people living in the U.S. who were born in Africa. That number is up from 880,000 in 2000 and only 80,000 in 1970.

Monica Anderson, a research associate and the author of the study, said the numbers are doubling approximately every decade and she sees that trend continuing.

"In 1980 only 1 percent of refugees admitted to the U.S. were from an African country and today that share is about 37 percent. That is one major factor that is driving the growth of African immigrants but it doesn't tell the entire story," she told VOA in an interview.

Sputtering economy, unemployment, and failed government policy, is driving away large numbers of highly educated professionals in recent times.

The top destinations for African immigrants to the U.S. are Texas, New York, California and the state of Maryland.

Independent investigations indicate that hundreds of thousands more Nigerians are also living in the U.S as undocumented aliens.

Ethiopian population are at 222,000 and Egyptians at 192,000, Pew found.

According to Randy Capps, director of research for U.S. programs at the Migration Policy Institute, "The U.S. has a pretty open job market, a strong job market now," says Capps. "It's a large job market relative to a lot of other countries that African immigrants might go to and a lot of the African immigrants here are doing quite well. So I think without something more drastic, a bigger change in U.S. immigration policy, there are still going to be very strong pull factors to come to the United States."