Mayor's Office on African Affairs

DC Agency Top Menu

-A +A
Bookmark and Share


MOAA provides local and national demographic information on the African community from various sources, including the US Census BureauAmerican Community Survey the Migration Policy Institute, and the 2018 Urban Institute State of the African Immigrant report.  

  • Local Demographics
    • There are 14,800 African-born DC residents.
    • African immigrants make up 17% of the foreign-born population of the District of Columbia.
    • A majority of African-born residents are concentrated in wards 1, 2, 4, and 6. 
    • The top countries of origin of African immigrants in the District of Columbia are Ethiopia (17%), Nigeria (12%), Ghana (10%), Cameroon (9%), Egypt (4%), Liberia (4%), Somalia (3%), Guinea (3%), Sudan (2%), and Eritrea (2%). 
    • More than two-thirds of African immigrants in the Washington metropolitan area arrived since 1990, more than one-third arrived between 2000 and 2005, and less than 6% arrived before 1980.
    • For the 2010-2011 School Year, 45,631 students were enrolled in the District of Columbia Public School System (DCPS).  Enrollment data by country of birth indicate that thirty African countries are represented among DCPS students, making it one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse in the nation.
      • African countries represented in DCPS: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan (before the split into two separate countries), Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
    • Thirty-five African languages-excluding French and Arabic-are spoken at home among African DCPS students.
      • Languages African DCPS students speak: Akan, Amharic, Bangolan, Basaa, Bwamu-Cwi, Criolo, Dinka, Ebira, Ga, Ibibio, Igbo, Kayibe, Klao, Kpelle, Krio, Mandigo, Oromo, Saho, Sango, Sangu, Shona, Somali, Susu, Swahili, Swati, Themne, Tigrigna, Wolof, Yeyi, and Yoruba.

  • National Demographics
    • ​​​​​​In 1960, African immigrants represented only 0.4% of the total immigrant population in the United States, compared to nearly 4% today.
    • There are 1.5 million African immigrants currently living in the United States, representing approximately 4 percent of the total foreign born population in 2009.
    • In 2009, 41.7 percent of African-born adults ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 28.1 percent of native-born adults and 26.8 percent of all foreign-born adults.
    • During the past fifty years, the number of African immigrants in the U.S. has significantly increased from 35,355 in 1960 to 1.5 million in 2010.
    • At the national level, the top countries of origin of African immigrants are: Nigeria (14.1%), Ethiopia (9.9%), Egypt (9.3%), Ghana (7.3%), and Kenya (5.8%). 
      • Chart showing top countries of origin of African immigrants: Nigeria (14.1%), Ethiopia (9.9%), Egypt (9.3%), Ghana (7.3%), and Kenya (5.8%)