Jennifer Lee, a professor at Columbia University, recently tweeted that Nigerian immigrants in the U.S. are more likely to have a bachelor’s degree than Chinese immigrants.
Of course, many people were shocked as her comment goes against the stereotype of Asian-Americans being among the most educated immigrant groups.
But Lee has the research to back it up. She and Van C. Tran, Oshin Khachikian, and Jess Lee authored a paper for the Russell Sage Foundation entitled “Hyper-selectivity, Racial Mobility, and the Remaking of Race.” Their study found that Nigerian immigrants have earned their B.A. at a higher rate than Chinese immigrants — 73.5 percent versus 62.1 percent, for that matter.
Lee and her fellow authors aren’t the only ones to report this fact. “On average, African immigrants are better educated than people born in the U.S. or the immigrant population as a whole,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Despite President Donald Trump’s disparaging remarks about immigrants being from “shithole countries” in Africa and elsewhere, fact is Nigerian immigrants have excelled in education.
“It’s a population that’s very diverse in its educational, economic and English proficiency profile,” said Jeanne Batalova in an LA Times interview. A senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute think tank in Washington, Batalova coauthored a report last year on sub-Saharan African immigrants in the U.S. “People came for a variety of reasons and at various times,” she said.
Of the 1.4 million African immigrants who are 25 and older, 41 percent have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 30 percent of all immigrants and 32 percent of the U.S.-born population, according to Batalova’s research.
“Of the 19,000 U.S. immigrants from Norway — a country Trump reportedly told lawmakers is a good source of immigrants — 38 percent have college educations,” the Times reported.
African immigrants are educated in the most sought-after sectors — STEM: science, technology, engineering and math.
They’re not just leading in obtaining bachelor degrees. That report also found that African immigrants were significantly more likely to have graduate degrees. A total of 16 percent had a master’s degree, medical degree, law degree or a doctorate, compared with 11 percent of the U.S.-born population, according to the LA Times.
“Overwhelmingly the evidence shows that (African immigrants) make a significant, positive economic contribution to the U.S. economy,” both at a national level and in districts where they are concentrated, Andrew Lim, associate director of research at New American Economy told the Times.
“They contribute more than $10.1 billion in federal taxes, $4.7 billion in state and local taxes, and most importantly, they have significant economic clout to the point of $40.3 billion in spending power.”
Written by Ann Brown