Ghanaian Americans

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Ghanaian Americans
Total population
(Ghanaian Americans
119,789 (2013 American Community Survey)[1]
116,807 (Ghanaian-born, 2007-2011) [2])
Regions with significant populations
Atlanta, New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, New Jersey
English, Akan, Kwa, Twi
Predominantly Christian, irreligion, other minorities.[3]
Related ethnic groups

Ghanaian Americans are Americans of full or partial Ghanaian ancestry or Ghanaians who became naturalized citizen of the United States.


Early history

The first people to arrive from the region then known as the Gold Coast were brought as slaves. Some of them were Akans originating from Ghana.[4][5] It is estimated that about 16 percent of the African slaves imported to North America were Akans from Ghana.[4] Several other Ghana's ethnic groups such like the Ganga[6] people were imported as well to the modern United States and the second the these groups appear to have an influence on the language of the Gullah people.[7][8] Because Ghanaian ports were a major routes for European slave traders. Captives from ethnic groups and tribes from all over West Africa were brought there to be to be held and sent to the New World. Most them were imported to South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia, although other places in the United States, such as Spanish Florida, also had many slaves of this origin.[6]

Typically, the product of wars, many slaves were sold to or captured by Europeans, although Africans like many ancient cultures had a form of slavery in their society. It was much different from American chattel slavery.[9] It is believed that of the 11 million Ghanaians who were exported as slaves, only about 500,000 ended up in the United States (most went to Latin America and the Caribbean).[10] The likelihood of an African American or any Black person from the diaspora having some Ghanaian ancestry is relatively high.[citation needed]

Recent immigration

Ghanaians began arriving in the United States en masse during the 1950s and 1960s amid the Civil Rights and anti-Imperialism era. In 1957, Ghana became the first African country to gain independence from British colonisation. Ghana's first president Kwame Nkrumah studied at American universities and worked with black American leaders for the rights of Black People worldwide. Notable African-American intellectuals and activists such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Malcolm X used Ghana as a symbol of black achievement. Most of the early immigrants from Ghana to the United States were students who came to get a better education and planned on using the education acquired in the United States to better Ghana.[11] However, many Ghanaians that migrated in the 1980s and 1990s, came to get business opportunities. In difficult economic times the number of Ghanaians who emigrated to the United States was small. However, when these economic problems were paralyzed, they built resources for their emigration to the United States.[11]


According to the 2010 Census there are 91,322 Ghanaian Americans living in the United States.[12] Cities with large populations include (in order of size): Atlanta; Chicago; Detroit; Washington, D.C.; The Bronx in New York City; Newark, New Jersey; Providence, Rhode Island; Worcester, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio; and Maryland among others.

Education and languages

African immigrants to the U.S. are among the most educated groups in the United States. Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma. This is more than double the rate of native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate of native-born African Americans.[13]

Ghanaian immigrants arrive with high educational statistics and this is attributable to Ghana's English-speaking school system.[14] Ghanaians are well represented in top universities across the United States and schools such as Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, and Stanford University have groups specifically devoted to Ghanaian students, in addition to general African student associations.[14]


Ghanaian Americans speak English, and often also speak Akan, Kwa and Twi.[11] Ghanaians have an easier time adapting to life in the United States than other immigrants because their homeland of Ghana has the English language as the official language and it is spoken by the majority of Ghana's population.[11]

Return to roots: African Americans in Ghana

As reported by journalist Lydia Polgreen in a 2012 New York Times article, the fact that Ghanaian slave exports to the Americas were so important between the 16th and 19th centuries makes Ghana currently try to attract African slave descendants from the Americas in order that they settle in Ghana, making the country the new home of many descendants of the Ghanaian diaspora -though they are only partially of Ghanaian descent. So, as reported by Valerie Papaya Mann, president of the African American Association of Ghana, thousands of African Americans now live in Ghana for some part of the year. To encourage migration, or at least visits, from the descendants of slaves from the Americas, Ghana decided in 2005 to offer them a special visa and allow them Ghanaian passports.[10]

Notable Ghanaian Americans

See also


  1. "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "PLACE OF BIRTH FOR THE FOREIGN-BORN POPULATION IN THE UNITED STATES, Universe: Foreign-born population excluding population born at sea, 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 16 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. US Census Bureau, International Religious Freedom Report 2009, Ghanaian-American
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Black Collegian online. Retrieved September 7, 2012, 17:10 pm.
  5. "'E Pluribus Unum' – Melting Pot or Salad Bowl?" Organized by Jon K. Møller. Retrieved September 7, 2012, 18:10 pm.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Darlene Clark Hine, Earnestine Jenkins (eds), A Question of Manhood: A Reader in U.S. Black Men's History and Masculinity, Volume 1, pp. 103–104.
  7. African American culture, African Diaspora. Retrieved September 10, 2012, 23:26 pm.
  8. "Question of the Month: Cudjo Lewis: Last African Slave in the U.S.?", by David Pilgrim, Curator, Jim Crow Museum, July 2005, webpage:Ferris-Clotilde.
  9. The Slave Trade
  10. 10.0 10.1 Polgreen, Lydia (December 27, 2005). "Ghana's Uneasy Embrace of Slavery's Diaspora". New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 EveryCulture — Ghanaian-Americans. Posted by Drew Walker. Retrieved December 10, 2011, 12:04.
  12. "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported in 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "African Immigrants in the United States are the Nation's Most Highly Educated Group". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, No. 26 (Winter 1999-2000), pp. 60-61 doi:10.2307/2999156
  14. 14.0 14.1 "The Educational System of Ghana". Retrieved July 14, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links