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Democratic Republic of the Congo Emigration and Immigration

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Much of African culture is based on oral tradition, but records such as slave sales and slave advertisements may give a clue toward slave origins in Africa. Getting your slave ancestor back to Africa may just not be possible, but your best chances lie with scrutinizing every record you can find for clues and by being familiar with the slave trade in the area in which you are researching.


  • Evidence suggests that DRC continues to be a destination country for immigrants. Immigration is very diverse in nature; refugees and asylum-seekers constitute an important subset of the population. Additionally, the country's large mine operations attract migrant workers from Africa and beyond. There is also considerable migration for commercial activities from other African countries and the rest of the world, but these movements are not well studied.
  • Transit migration towards South Africa and Europe also plays a role.
  • Immigration to the DRC has decreased steadily over the past two decades, most likely as a result of the armed violence that the country has experienced. According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of immigrants in the DRC has fallen from just over one million in 1960, to 754,000 in 1990, to 480,000 in 2005, to an estimated 445,000 in 2010. [1]


  • The vast majority of Americans of African ancestry in the United States are descendants of the 400,000 black slaves forcibly brought to the New World prior to 1860. Most of these slaves came from a small section (approximately 300 miles long) of the Atlantic coast between the Congo and Gambia rivers in East Africa.
  • Figures for Congolese nationals abroad vary greatly depending on the source, from three to six million. This discrepancy is due to a lack of official, reliable data.
  • Emigrants from the DRC are above all long-term emigrants, the majority of whom live in Africa and to a lesser extent in Europe; 79.7% and 15.3% respectively, according to estimated 2000 data.
  • New destination countries include South Africa and various points en route to Europe.
  • The DRC has produced a considerable number of refugees and asylum-seekers located in the region and beyond. These numbers peaked in 2004 when, according to UNHCR, there were more than 460,000 refugees from the DRC; in 2008, Congolese refugees numbered 367,995 in total, 68% of whom were living in other African countries. Since 2003, more than 400,000 Congolese migrants have been expelled from Angola.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Democratic Republic of the Congo", in Wikipedia,, accessed 14 June 2021.