Over 90,000 Kenyans live in the US, shows census

President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta receives a bouquet of flowers from 10-year-old Tamasha Mbabu and nine-year-old Amelia Muinga on arrival at their residential hotel in New York, US. PHOTO | PSCU |

What you need to know:

  • Kenya ranks fourth among sub-Saharan nations in the size of US immigrant population.
  • The highest concentration of Kenyans is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, where 7,715 are said to reside.
  • Only 5.1 per cent of Kenyans in the US did not complete secondary school.

NEW YORK

A total of 95,125 Kenyans are living in the United States, the US Census Bureau has reported.

That figure, based on a nationwide sampling of households between 2008 and 2012, is said to have a margin of error of four per cent, meaning the number of Kenyans in the US could range as high as almost 100,000 and as low as about 90,000.

Kenya ranks fourth among sub-Saharan nations in the size of US immigrant population.

About 221,000 Nigerians are living in the US, followed by 164,000 from Ethiopia and 121,000 from Ghana, according to the study titled “The Foreign-Born Population From Africa: 2008–2012.”

The 1.6 million individuals born in Africa account for about four per cent of the nearly 40 million people in the US who were born elsewhere. The total US population is 312 million.

DALLAS-FORT WORTH

The highest concentration of Kenyans is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, where 7,715 are said to reside.

Next largest is Minneapolis in the midwestern state of Minnesota, with 5,610 Kenyans, followed by the New York City area with 5,295.

The findings in the new study contradict a claim made last year by Mr Elkanah Odembo, then Kenya’s Ambassador to the US, that some 400,000 Kenyans are living in the United States.

Mr Odembo said that at least half that total did not have valid US visas.

Those figures were challenged at that time by Mr Jeffrey Passel, a demographics expert at a Washington-based research centre, who estimated the number of Kenyans in the US at about 90,000, including as many as 30,000 without authorisation.

The new Census Bureau study does not indicate how many immigrants from Africa may be lacking visas.

Kenyans in the US have a high level of educational attainment, the Census Bureau found.

SECONDARY SCHOOL

Nearly half (47.2 per cent) hold a bachelor’s degree, compared with 41 per cent of the entire Africa-born population in the US.

Only 5.1 per cent of Kenyans in the US did not complete secondary school.

“High levels of educational attainment among the African born are in part due to the large number of educated Africans who have chosen to emigrate and to many who come to the United States to pursue academic studies,” the Census Bureau study says.

It also notes that nearly 25 per cent of Africans living in the US entered on diversity-lottery visas, which require a secondary school diploma or equivalent work experience.

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