Children of Black Immigrants Are Successful in Gaining Admission to the Nation’s Top Colleges and Universities

Several years ago, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, stated his belief that very few of Harvard’s black students are the descendants of American slaves. He estimated that 75 percent of black students at Harvard were of African or Caribbean descent or were biracial. Now here is evidence that Professor Gates’ suspicions are correct.

A new study published in the journal Sociology of Education finds that black immigrants are more likely to be enrolled in the nation’s elite colleges and universities than African Americans. Furthermore, these children of African and Caribbean immigrants are more likely to be enrolled in our elite colleges than are white Americans.

The study found that 9.2 percent of the college-age blacks who immigrated to the United States, or who were children of parents who had immigrated to the United States, were enrolled at the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. In contrast, only 2.4 percent of African-American students were enrolled in the elite group of colleges. Slightly more than 7 percent of white students were enrolled at these schools.

Overall, 75 percent of college-age black immigrants have at one time enrolled in college compared to 72 percent of college-age whites and 60 percent of college-age African Americans.

The results show that immigrant blacks came from families with incomes that were on average lower than those of whites. Immigrant blacks were significantly more likely than African Americans to come from traditional two-parent families.