Demographic methodology

Migration statistics for this report were drawn from datasets from Europe and the U.S., as well as from global datasets.


Europe’s asylum applications from sub-Saharan Africa

Number of asylum applications was drawn from Eurostat, Europe’s statistical agency. Annual inflows were calculated from first-time applications minus withdrawn applications within each country of application and applicant nationality group. Europe includes European Union countries (including the UK), Norway and Switzerland.

United States

U.S. American Community Survey

Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau administers the American Community Survey (ACS), a nationally representative household survey of the U.S. general public. Respondents are asked for their place of birth and their geographic state of residence, among other things. These data for 2016 were used to calculate the breakdown of sub-Saharan African-born immigrants, regardless of citizenship, across census regions of the United States for the non-institutionalized population.

U.S. lawful permanent resident and refugee arrivals

Annual flows of sub-Saharan Africans entering the U.S. are based on new arrivals of lawful permanent residents (LPR) across all classifications (family, employment-based, diversity visa and other means), based on data from the Department of Homeland Security. Using data from the U.S. State Department, the annual flow of refugees with sub-Saharan Africa nationalities admitted to the U.S. were added to arriving LPRs in each fiscal year (Oct. 1 to Sept. 30). Refugees adjust their status to LPR after living several months in the United States. This report counted refugees the year they arrived in the U.S. rather than the year they adjusted their status.


United Nations international migrant stock estimates

The United Nations has estimated the countries of birth and countries of residence for foreign-born populations living around the world as of 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2017. International migrant stock estimates used in this report do not use the category “Other South,” a country-of-birth category representing less than 3% of the world’s international migrants. These estimates for migrant populations from less-developed nations cannot be specifically attributed to a particular country of birth. It is possible that migrants from some sub-Saharan African countries are in this category.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

UNHCR collects data on refugees throughout the world. These data were used for displaced populations in sub-Saharan Africa as well as refugees formally resettled in other countries.

Survey methodology

Results for the survey are based on face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of ORB International. The results are based on national samples, unless otherwise noted. More details about our international survey methodology and country-specific sample designs are available here.


Detailed information on survey methods for this report

General information on international survey research