Poverty and Affluence across the First Two Generations of Voluntary Migrants from Africa to the U.S.

Amon Emeka, Skidmore College

The first substantial waves of voluntary migration from Africa arrived in the U.S. in the last quarter of the 20th century. The largest number of them haled from Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa. By 2010 their U.S.-born children had begun to reach adulthood offering us a first look at intergenerational mobility among voluntary migrants from Africa. This paper uses 1990 U.S. Census and 2008-2012 American Community Survey data to examine patterns income, affluence, and poverty among young Egyptian, Ethiopian, Nigerian, and South African immigrants in 1990 and U.S. born men and women of those ancestries in 2008-2012 as well as among their White and Black counterparts of U.S. birth and stock. It is found that racial group membership is at least predictive of financial well-being as specific national origins with Black Africans, and Ethiopians, in particularly, evidencing pronounced disadvantages in both the immigrant and second generations.

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Presented in Session 225: Socioeconomic Status of New Immigrants to the United States