with Dennis Burton
Zuret 1

It’s been a long-standing problem of being a closed society when it comes to the Ethiopian Diaspora in the US for various reasons. Partly, because the number of Ethiopians living in certain US regions is large enough not to oblige quick integration. Some find it advantageous as it smooths the process for new immigrants and others find it challenging to find the openings for being exposed or learn new cultures and tap into different prospects. The key here is to find common ground and the balance for incorporating our values and cultural identity in our new home. Most first time immigrants believe that foreign settings are the root causes for disrupting culture and values. This creates a communication gap with the upcoming generation as they are born into the culture and have the same values as the host country. Lucky enough, Ethiopians living in the United States of America do have a large presence in certain regions, allowing them to stick to what they know without too much struggle in learning new ways of life. This can be interpreted in both good and bad ways depending on how to you see the situation.

Despite a couple of conservative data showing of only 250k, it is said that there are more than 700k – 800K Ethiopians living in the United States as of 2016 according to numerous sources. Despite the downside of limited inclusiveness, this fact presents a tremendous business opportunity. Presented in a country where more than 93% of the population using online platforms to do businesses, there are multiple ports that the online business can penetrate the Ethiopian market making sure to close the communication gap between business owners and clients. If properly presented, the lack this gives us leverage to use our languages, making it the third official language in DC, as well as eat our food, celebrate our holidays, find enough businesses, restaurants and much more customized to our needs.  

Of the 15 Diaspora groups in the Rockefeller Foundation-Aspen Institute Diaspora Program (RAD) analysis, the Ethiopian first and second generations are among the youngest populations in their respective generations. Ethiopian immigrants in the United States have a median age of 37, and the vast majority of the population is working age (86%). The median age of the children of Ethiopian immigrants (2nd generation) is 7, and 62 per cent of those in the second generation has a mother and father who were born in Ethiopia.

While the Ethiopian diaspora has similar educational attainment as the U.S. population overall and is more likely to be in the labour force, its average household income is substantially lower. The median annual income for Ethiopian diaspora households is $36,000. Members of the Ethiopian diaspora are more likely than the general U.S. population to be in the labour force (74 per cent versus 64 per cent overall), but they are far less likely to be in professional or managerial occupations than U.S. workers overall (20 per cent versus 31 per cent).

Within the United States, the largest numbers of Ethiopian immigrants live in the states of California, Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota, and Texas. Ethiopian immigrants are more heavily concentrated in Washington, DC and its surrounding communities than in any other metropolitan area in the country, but make up only a significantly lower number of the overall population. The Minneapolis, Seattle and Atlanta metropolitan areas are also Ethiopian immigrant population centres. 

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