Leading Gambian Statistician: 140,000 Gambians live outside The Gambia

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By C. Omar Kebbeh

The total number of Gambians living outside of the country reached 140,000 in 2019, according to an updated dataset on Gambian migration compiled by C. Omar Kebbeh, A Gambian economist based in Washington DC. The dataset, A Statistical Portrait of the Gambian Diaspora, which can accessed at (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aGuDC9Y5wyjQLUDkNvjDDz7qkLv-IflP/view?usp=sharing) shows that Gambians are spread across the globe, from Senegal to Canada.

According to the new dataset, irregular migration (backway) to Europe slowed significantly in 2018 and after increasing significantly between 2008 and 2017 when thousands of young Gambians arrived in Europe via Libya. Furthermore, the dataset shows that United States and the United Kingdom continue to be important destinations for Gambians. Sweden is also another important destination for Gambian migrants with 31 Gambians arriving there five decades ago.

Highlights of the findings from the dataset

  1. Gambians in Spain
    • 22,218 Gambians lived in Spain in 2019. Of this number, 17,920 are males and 4,298 are females
    • In 1998, 3,972 Gambians lived in Spain. Of this number, 2,890 are males and 1,082 are females.
    • 4,836, or 22 percent of Gambians hold Spaniard citizenship.
    • Over 83 percent of Gambians in Spain are between the ages of 20 and 50 years.
    • Of Gambians in Spain, 15,496 live in Cataluna region
  2. Gambians in Norway
    • 1,238 Gambians lived in Norway in 2019. Of this number, 716 are males and 522 are females.
    • In 1970, 19 Gambians lived in Norway and all were male.
    • 73 percent of Gambians in Norway arrived more than 7 years ago.
    • In 2018, 55 percent of Gambians aged 18 and over were employed.
    • Between 1998 and 2018, 775 Gambians were granted Norwegian citizenship. Of this, 43 percent are females.
  3. Gambians in Denmark
    • 966 Gambians lived in Denmark in 2019. Of this number, 516 are males and 450 are females
    • Majority of Gambians in Denmark live in Hovedstaden and Copenhagen areas.
    • Between 1979 and 2018, 443 Gambians were granted Danish citizenship. Of this, 206 are females.
  4. Gambians in Sweden
    • 5,365 Gambians lived in Sweden in 2019. Of this number, 3,177 are males and 2,188 are females
    • 85 percent of Gambians in Sweden are between the ages 20 and 64 years.
    • The first Gambians arrived in Sweden in the late 1960s.
    • Between 2000 and 2018, 3,149 Gambians were granted Swedish citizenship. Of this, about half are females.
  5. Gambians in the United States
    • 26,000 Gambians lived in the United States in 2019. Of this number, 15,000 are males and 11,000 are females
    • Between 1988 and 2018, 7,624 Gambians were granted US citizenship
    • Between 1988 and 2018, 14,575 Gambians were granted Green Cards (please note that some of these went on to become US citizens)
    • Between 2006 and 2018, 71 Gambians arrived as refugees, 1,491 were granted asylum, 1,272 were apprehended on immigration violations, 531 were determined inadmissible, and 249 were returned,
    • Between 2011 and 2018, 1,004 Gambians living in New York were granted citizenship, 211 in Ohio, 108 in Pennsylvania, 110 in Rhode Island, 199 in Texas, 490 in Washington, 182 in Wisconsin, 293 in north Carolina, 155 in Minnesota, 106 in Michigan, 372 in Maryland, and 493 in Georgia – further evidence that Gambians are spread all across the United States.
    • The educational attainment of Gambians in the United States is high relative to the overall foreign-born population, with close to 100 Gambians holding doctorate degrees.
    • 94 percent of Gambians in the United States speak English very well or well compared to 67 percent for the overall foreign-born population.
    • 91 percent of Gambians in the United States are between the ages of 15 and 59.
    • Over 90 percent entered the United States after 1990.
  6. Gambians in the United Kingdom
    • 17,000 Gambians lived in the UK in 2019. Of this, 15,000 lived in England, 1,000 in Wales and 1,000 in Scotland.
    • Between 1990 and 2018, 8,501 Gambians were granted British citizenship
    • The number of Gambians who entered the UK to study decreased from a peak of 570 in 2008 to 70 in 2017.
  7. Gambians in the Netherlands
    • 1,631 Gambians lived in the Netherlands in 2019. Of this, 934 are males and 697 are females.
    • In 1996, 199 Gambians lived in the Netherlands, 146 males and 53 females.
    • Like other countries, the majority of Gambians in the Netherlands are between the ages 20 and 60 years.
  8. Gambians in Finland
    • 882 Gambians lived in Finland in 2019. Of this, 716 are males and 166 are females
    • In 1990, 21 Gambians lived in Finland, 19 males and 2 females.
    • Between 1990 and 2018, 294 Gambians were granted Finnish citizenship
    • In 2018, 369 Gambians were in the Finnish labor force and of this 273 were employed. Among females, 41 were in the labor force and 22 were employed.
    • Between 1990 and 2018, on average, about 30 Gambians migrated to Finland each year.
    • Majority of Gambians in Finland live in Uusimaa region.
  9. Gambians in Germany
    • 16,595 Gambians lived in Germany in 2019. Of this, 14,381 are males and 2,214 are females.
    • In 1967, 19 Gambians lived in Germany, 18 males and 1 female.
    • In 2010, 3,204 Gambians lived in Germany, 2,351 males and 853 females.
    • Between 2000 and 2017, 1,478 Gambians were granted German citizenship.
    • Over 90 percent of Gambians living in Germany are between the ages of 20 and 60 years.
  10. Gambians in Italy
    • 21,426 Gambians lived in Italy in 2019. Of this, 20,677 are males and 749 are females
    • 395 Gambians hold Italian citizenship. Of this, 247 are males.
    • 21,031 Gambians were granted residence permits in Italy.
Gambian Diaspora Population by C. Omar Kebbeh

Gambian Diaspora Population by C. Omar Kebbeh

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