Highly Skilled Migration from Africa to the US

Exit Mechanisms, Demographic Determinants, and the Role of Socioeconomic Trends

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Abstract

Despite increases in research on the migration of skilled Africans to the developed world, few studies have examined the specific mechanisms of departure contributing to these trends. Previous studies further contain limited analysis of how these mechanisms respond to Africa’s changing social and demographic trends. This study uses data from various sources to examine these issues. The results indicate that, in absolute terms, overall emigration flows of highly skilled Africans to the US more than doubled between 1980 and 2010. In addition, they suggest that previous arguments indicating that the recruitment of African professionals drives these flows understate the role of student migration in driving these movements. In the past three decades, more skilled Africans migrated to the US through student migration mechanisms than through any mechanism associated with the recruitment of workers. Furthermore, in recent years, the Diversity Visa Program has become the second most important mechanism through which skilled emigration from Africa occurs. Finally, the analysis finds that trends in African student emigration are highly responsive to youth population growth and that, surprisingly, the migration of skilled professionals is less influenced by African economic trends than by economic trends in the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)825-849
Number of pages25
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Volume35
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

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emigration
migration
determinants
student
trend
economic trend
demographic trend
program diversity
population growth
Africa
socioeconomics
worker
analysis

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

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abstract = "Despite increases in research on the migration of skilled Africans to the developed world, few studies have examined the specific mechanisms of departure contributing to these trends. Previous studies further contain limited analysis of how these mechanisms respond to Africa’s changing social and demographic trends. This study uses data from various sources to examine these issues. The results indicate that, in absolute terms, overall emigration flows of highly skilled Africans to the US more than doubled between 1980 and 2010. In addition, they suggest that previous arguments indicating that the recruitment of African professionals drives these flows understate the role of student migration in driving these movements. In the past three decades, more skilled Africans migrated to the US through student migration mechanisms than through any mechanism associated with the recruitment of workers. Furthermore, in recent years, the Diversity Visa Program has become the second most important mechanism through which skilled emigration from Africa occurs. Finally, the analysis finds that trends in African student emigration are highly responsive to youth population growth and that, surprisingly, the migration of skilled professionals is less influenced by African economic trends than by economic trends in the US.",
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