Mayor's Office on African Affairs

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Facts on the District’s African Community

Africa: has a landmass of 30,301,596 sq/km, and with, 54 countries, 1 billion people, over 3000 languages spoken and over 250 million people of African descent living in various parts of the world,  there are now an estimated 40 million people of African descent living here in the United States. Today, the African-born population categorically makes up a growing share of the nation’s 40 million African descendants and a growing share of the nation’s 40 million immigrants. In fact, from 1980 to 2009, the foreign-born African population of the United States increased by roughly 700%.

The District’s African community counts to approximately 16,000 African-born residents (17% of the District’s entire immigrant population) which is the highest proportion of African- born residents of any major city in the United States. As the newest and fastest growing immigrant group, the community partakes in and contributes to the cultural and economic fabric of the local and national community. Contributions also extend to international realms, impacting the economies of Africa through remittances. In 2010, African migrant remittance inflows to Africa reached nearly $40 billion.

One of every ten African-born immigrants in the entire country lives right here in the District of Columbia, which makes it home to African residents, employees, students, as well business owners and non-profits which represent a multitude of languages, cultural beliefs and practices, religions, educational backgrounds, and socio-economic characteristics. Therefore, recognizing the various needs of  the District’s African community, OAA’s role is to provide relevant and impactful programs, assistance, and resources; while establishing linkages and assisting residents, policy makers, District agencies, and other stakeholders looking to learn about the District’s African community.


Did you know?

  • In 2009, the nation's top countries of origin for the African born were Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, and Kenya, in that order.
  • Almost half of the African foreign born population in the United States has arrived since 2000.
  • In 2009, about 1.5 million African immigrants resided in the United States.
  • There were 3.5 million self-identified members of the African Diaspora residing in the United States in 2009
  • Washington, DC stands out as a preferred destination for Ethiopians, who account for almost one of every five black African immigrants. The West African countries of Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Cameroon follow. These countries, together with Liberia, Somalia, Guinea, Sudan, and Eritrea complete the top 10 sending countries that account for three-quarters of the black African immigrant population in Washington, DC. (Source: Migration Policy Institute)


For more demographic information on the African community, follow this link