African Immigrants Better Educated than Norwegians — or Americans

African Immigrants Better Educated than Norwegians — or Americans January 15, 2018

While some clutch their pearls and pretend that the problem with Trump’s “shithole” statement is the profanity and others pretend that it’s about insulting the countries, the real problem is twofold. First, he’s insulting the immigrants, not so much where they came from, and preferring white people over everyone else because he thinks they’re better and contribute more to society. Not so fast. Turns out those African immigrants are better educated than both Americans and those Norwegians he says he prefers.


While many are refugees, large numbers are beneficiaries of the “diversity visa program” aimed at boosting immigration from underrepresented nations. And on average, African immigrants are better educated that people born in the U.S. or the immigrant population as a whole…

At the same time, the diversity visa program — also known as the visa lottery — has opened the door to immigrants from more peaceful places. Of the sub-Saharan immigrants who have become legal permanent residents, 17% came through the program, compared with 5% of the total U.S. immigrant population, according to Batalova.

Applicants to the program must have completed the equivalent of a U.S. high school education or have at least two years of recent experience in any number of occupations, including accountant, computer support specialist, orthodontist and dancer.

As a result, the influx includes many immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa who are highly skilled professionals.

Batalova’s research found that of the 1.4 million who are 25 and older, 41% have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 30% of all immigrants and 32% of the U.S.-born population. Of the 19,000 U.S. immigrants from Norway — a country Trump reportedly told lawmakers is a good source of immigrants — 38% have college educations…

That report also found that African immigrants were significantly more likely to have graduate degrees. A total of 16% had a master’s degree, medical degree, law degree or a doctorate, compared with 11% of the U.S.-born population, Lim said.

African immigrants were more than twice as likely than the U.S. population overall to work in healthcare, Lim said. There are more than 32,500 nursing, psychiatric or home health aides, more than 46,000 registered nurses and more than 15,700 doctors and surgeons.

The “highbrow” defense of Trump’s appalling statement goes like this: “Okay, so he’s crude and there’s probably a tinge of racism to what he said, but he’s right that we should focus on bringing in immigrants who are well-educated and ready to contribute in a significant way to the country and the economy.” But he’s wrong, and they’re wrong, even on that. And it’s wrong about those who don’t have college educations too. A great many who come here end up starting their own businesses, often restaurants, and bringing their culture with them, which enriches all of us in ways both monetary and otherwise.

And there is nothing any different about Haitian or African immigrants than there was about Italians, Poles, Irish and every other group of immigrants who came here. Within a generation, they’re well assimilated and contributing in all the same ways that native-born citizens do to the country. Those previous waves of immigrants were greeted by exactly the same bigoted reaction that Haitians and Africans are today, literally word for word. They’re not educated, they aren’t like us, they’ll change the culture, they’ll bring diseases, blah blah blah.

Every single generation does and says the exact same thing, for the same psychological reasons, and they’re always wrong. The fact that being wrong so pervasively for so long never prevents them from being wrong in precisely the same way again speaks volumes about the power of tribalism and bigotry.

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