By Hinsley Njila (Edited by Innocent Chia)
Far too often when one listens to Cameroonians argue about their country, you cannot help but be startled by some off-the-wall statistics that gets quoted as fact. For instance, it is not uncommon for Cameroonians to openly state that there are close to a million Cameroonians in the US. It is also common to hear them matter-of-factly state that Cameroon has an economy based on output from Agricaulture3. At best, both of these statements are grossly misguided, stemming oftentimes from sheer ignorance, other times from patriotic engineering by politicians, and sometimes are exaggerated memories from primary school text books. The basic question today is: what do the numbers tell us about Cameroonians in the US?
Realfocus Capital Intelligence has partnered with the American Community Survey to bring some key stats that will help shape the understanding of these and other issues. Our analysis focuses on Cameroonian immigrants in the US from 2008 – 2010 (the years for which the latest data is available). We have called out a few noteworthy facts, as well as provided some key dashboards with a little more detail. Detailed insights, analyses and reports are available at www.realfocuscapital.com, alongside with contact information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some key stats:
- There are currently about 33,1711 Cameroon immigrants (in other words, 0.2% of Cameroon’s estimated 20,129,2782 population)
- The median age is 33.8 years (median age of Cameroonians in Cameroon is 19.42 years)
- 28% are naturalized US Citizens
- 7 out of 10 Cameroonians in the US arrived after 2000, and only 11% lived here before 1990
- More than 95% of Cameroonians have at least a high school diploma (Most already had it before coming to the US).
- 96% of Cameroonian immigrants had some earnings in 2010, with a median household income of $48,542
- The median household income for married couples was $71,054
- 33% of Cameroonians had no health insurance coverage between 2008 and 2010
- 13% of Cameroonians in the US live in poverty. Female headed households are twice as likely to be in poverty as married households.
- 1 in 2 Cameroons in the US works in a single industry - Education services, healthcare and social assistance.
- Close to 8 out of 10 Cameroonian immigrants has studied just two occupations – Management, Business & Service occupations.
- 1.0% are civilian veterans of the US armed forces.
- 4% changed residence from one state to another from 2008 – 2010, 74% stayed in the same house.
The honest suspicion here is that these charts will be undergoing intense scrutiny and interpretations. Better yet, there is a secret hope that conversations will be had in earnest about what influence Cameroonians in the US can, and/or do, weild in both "homes". In other words, are Cameroonians in educational/professional fields that are pivotal to the future of the global economy? Better yet, if Cameroonian nurses - for example - all returned to Cameroon today, will they be going to grow and manage the health industry in partnership with those on the field already, or will they be seeking positions in other sectors and pretend as if they never studied or practiced nursing at a high level in the US? If not, why not?
2 - Population estimates including median age can be found on cia.gov, 'The World factbook' page. Overall population is July 2012 estimate.
3 - According to CIA and World Bank, Cameroon has had a service based economy since the early 1990's, with Services contributing nearly 49% of GDP, while Agriculture contributes nearly 20%.