Congolese Americans

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Congolese American
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Total population
(+ 5,488 (2000 US Census)[1]
11,009 (2006 - 2009 US Census)[2])
Regions with significant populations
Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C.–Baltimore area, North Texas
American English, French, Lingala, Swahili, kikongo, Tshiluba[3]

Congolese Americans are Americans of descent from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo.

In the 2000 US census, 3,886 people of Congolese descent were reported. Another 1,602 specified that they were descended from people from "Zaire" and less than 300 people indicated that they hailed from the Republic of Congo.[1] Rose Mapendo, who suffered as a result of the war, has helped 2,000 refugees to emigrate into the United States through the organization Mapendo International.[4] So, further thousands of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo have been able to come to the United States.[5] In 2013, it was estimated that more than 10,000 Congolese refugees of DRC living in this USA.[6]


Like other African groups in the United States, the first Congolese arrivals to the modern United States arrived as slaves to this place in the colonial period. Coming, at least, from the current Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congolese were imported to places such as Louisiana.[7] They were bought in Cabinda. Congolese voluntary migration to the U.S. began in the 1960s for educational reasons. Thus, the Congolese who came to the U.S. to study and got serve their "designations of origin". However, emigration from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the United States increased in the 1970s after discovering that the dictator of this country, Mobutu Sese Seko, had decided to choose the United States, among other countries, as a place of refuge.[8] However, in the 80's the first large wave of Congolese immigrants came to the United States for educational purposes. Although initially most of them had decided to return home when they finished studying in this country, many of them were forced to stay in the U.S. because of the worsening political and economic conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The conflict increased in the 1990s, prompting a new wave of Congolese migrants in the United States as war refugees. Most Congolese who emigrated had to leave their homes due to war, leaving their families behind. Only a few families could migrate together. New immigrants belonged to different groups that the of the Tutsi (also known as Banyarwanda).[9]


The Congolese speak English, French, and any of the several Bantu languages. So, the Congolese community from the DRC speak, in addition of English and French, languages such as Lingala, Swahili, kikongo and Tshiluba.[3] However, recent immigrants can speak less English than the earlier Congolese migrants. Because of this, it has been more difficult for recent immigrants to adapt to life in the United States; the earlier immigrants were better-educated. In addition, professional expertise and education that they received in the Congo are often not recognized by United States employers. Therefore, many educated Congolese have been forced to work in unskilled and low-paying jobs like dishwashing and taxi cab driving. Most Congolese are Christians.

The largest Congolese communities in the U.S. are Boston, New York City, and the Washington, D.C.–Baltimore area[citation needed]. There is also a significant population of Congolese Americans in the Charlotte and Raleigh areas, in the of state North Carolina,[citation needed] in North Texas (where live 3,500 people from DRC, maily in Arlington, Bedford, Dallas, Euless, Grand Prairie, Hurst and Irving)[3] and in Iowa, where the Congolese community of DRC this growing due to sending refugees (although quantitatively reduced in the last years).[10]

Since 2001, many Congolese refugees of the DRC have been resettled in the United States. So, in 2013, it was estimated that more than 10,000 Congolese refugees of DRC living in this country,[6] more than 3,000 of which arrived to United States in 2010.[5] USA hopes to resettle other tens of thousands of Congolese more from the same country in the next 5 years.[6]


As did other ethnic groups in the United States, the Congolese have also tried to create a single Congolese community. Despite its religious and ethnic diversity have assisted each other and fostered a unique identity for your community. A Congolese organization created for this purpose was the Congolese Association, established in the 1990s. This created in 1994 a constitution drafted and sponsored social events and meetings until the end of the decade, when it had institutional difficulties, becoming in inactive. In 2001, the Congolese leaders formed the Community Church of New Chicago in Evanston to create a spiritual union between the Congolese different religious backgrounds. In addition, the Congolese gather annually for holidays like New Year's Day and Independence Day of the Democratic Republic of Congo (June 30), celebrating with Congolese traditional food, music and dancing.[9]

The Congolese Community of Chicago have as primary goal facilitate the integration of people of Congolese descent in the fabric of the United States while establish programs for give to know the Congolese culture.[11]

Others Congolese organization in United States are Congolese Community of North Carolina-Raleigh (cocomnc), whose goal is seek and establish programs that favor the development of Congolese children and his families living in the triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.) in the social, educational, cultural and entrepreneurial areas,[12] Congolese Community of Houston,[13] the charitable organization Congolese Community of Northern California [14] and Congolese Women Association of New England, which aims to provide services to Congolese women of New England, including immigration counseling, job training, ESL classes and cultural practice workshops.[15]

See also


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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 CONGOLESE COMMUNITY IN NORTH TEXAS - Texas Baptists.
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  5. 5.0 5.1 Fronteras: The changing America Desk. Congolese Immigrants Search For A Voice. Posted by Nick Blumberg in Tuesday, October 25, 201. Retrieved October 24, 2:55pm.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  7. Africans and Their Descendants in the Americas: Restoring the Links Using Historical Documents and Databases. Retrieved October 14, 2012, to 20:20 pm.
  8. (French) L'intégration des Congolais Immigrants aux USA (In French: Integration of Congolese immigrants in USA). Posted by Bernard Manseka. Retrieved September 1, 2012, to 23:46 pm.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Encyclopedia ofChicago: Congolese in Chicago. Posted by Tracy Steffes. Retrieved September 4, 2012, to 2:06 pm.
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  12. Congolese Community of North Carolina-Raleigh Association
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  14. Congolese Community of Northern California.
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External links