12 Jan Capitol Report: As Trump blasts Africa, a look at why immigrants are coming, and how they integrate
Editor’s note: The original headline on this article was changed because it was inappropriate and did not properly characterize the content
As the country — and the world — discusses the propriety of President Donald Trump’s referring to other nations as “shitholes” in the debate over immigration, the unfortunate fact remains that the countries he so designated do lag their global peers on a host of development and economic indicators.
Trump, according to reports, made the comment in a discussion of whether to admit would-be immigrants from Africa via the diversity lottery, a process the president opposes.
What is clear that immigrants are coming from a troubled region — but also that the immigrants from Africa have largely succeeded in their integration with the U.S.
Data from the World Bank show, for instance, that the life expectancy at birth for sub-Saharan African countries stood at just 59.9 years in 2015.
That compares to 71.9 years for the world and the United States, and 82.1 years in Norway, from which Trump purportedly wants to see more immigrations.
In terms of GDP per capita, African nations again lag. Gross domestic product per capita stood at just $1,597 for sub-Saharan African countries, and even in relatively wealthier countries, such as Botswana and South Africa, per capita GDP was just $6,532 and $5,773, respectively. According to the World Bank, GDP per capita globally stood at $10,163 in 2015, including $56,469 in the U.S. and $74,521 in Norway.
In Haiti, which Trump apparently excluded from the “shithole” designation but from which he still wanted to restrict immigration, life expectancy was 63 years, and GDP per capita was $814.
It doesn’t necessarily follow, however, that immigrants from those countries do poorly upon arrival in the U.S., as Census Bureau data show.
About a quarter of those who were born in Africa and live in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree, which is more than the 17% of the broader foreign-born population in the U.S. and the 19% rate of the native-born U.S. population.
Households with African-born people earn just a little less, $75,581 on average, compared with $77,727 for the broader foreign-born population and $80,045 for the native-born population.
They are a bit more likely to receive food stamps, with 17.2% of African-born people receiving that benefit, compared with 16.2% for the foreign-born population and 12.5% for the native-born population.