As more recent arrivals, their numbers are not large; in 2015 the Nigerian-American population was 376,000, according to the Rockefeller Foundation–Aspen Institute. And they’ve had to battle the expected racial stereotypes — in 2017 President Trump reportedly said that Nigerians would never go back to “their huts” once they saw America. But in 2018, 29 percent of Nigerian-Americans over the age of 25 held a graduate degree, compared to 11 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to the Migrations Policy Institute. They tend to gravitate into education, medicine, and business. The result is a median household income of $62,351, compared to $57,617 nationally, as of 2015.
Historically, many have intended to return home to help build a more-modern Nigeria, but that country’s political instability in the second half of the 20th century resulted in many of those deciding to take advantage of the opportunities here.
For example, forensic pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu was the first to discover and publish on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (brain injuries) in American football players; Will Smith played him in the 2015 movie Concussion. And ImeIme A. Umana was the first black woman elected president of the Harvard Law Review last year.
For more examples, see “The Most Successful Ethnic Group in the U.S. May Surprise You”