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Somalia vs. USA – Publications – AEI

Summary:
AEI Somalia vs. USA The country of Somalia, or at least Somali-Americans have been in the news a lot lately because of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) who is the first Somali-American, the first naturalized citizen from Africa, the first non-white woman elected from Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim women (along with Rashida Tlaib of Michigan) to serve in Congress according to her Wikipedia page. There was also a New York Times article last month “‘These People Aren’t Coming From Norway’: Refugees in a Minnesota City Face a Backlash” about some of the challenges that Somali-Americans (and Minnesotans) are facing in cities like St. Cloud and Minneapolis in Minnesota, which is now home to 74,000 Somalis.  So I thought it would be interesting to compare Somalia to the United States on a

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Somalia vs. USA

Somalia vs. USA - Publications – AEI

The country of Somalia, or at least Somali-Americans have been in the news a lot lately because of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) who is the first Somali-American, the first naturalized citizen from Africa, the first non-white woman elected from Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim women (along with Rashida Tlaib of Michigan) to serve in Congress according to her Wikipedia page. There was also a New York Times article last month “These People Aren’t Coming From Norway’: Refugees in a Minnesota City Face a Backlash” about some of the challenges that Somali-Americans (and Minnesotans) are facing in cities like St. Cloud and Minneapolis in Minnesota, which is now home to 74,000 Somalis

So I thought it would be interesting to compare Somalia to the United States on a variety of economic, education and health metrics, and those comparisons appear in the table above. What was most shocking to me is that only 30% of Somali children are in school and only 40% of those in school are girls, according to UNICEF, which explains the 37.8% literacy rate overall and only 25.8% for women. Also pretty interesting that Somalia’s GDP per capita last year was less than $500 last year (and less than US GDP per capita in the year 1800 of around $1,000) ranking it among the poorest countries in the world according to World Bank data (No. 178 out of 183 countries). Somalia’s entire annual GDP of $7.4 billion puts it on par with the metro GDP of US cities like Abeline, Texas ($7.3 billion) and Bowling Green Kentucky ($7.3 billion).

Overall it’s quite an interesting story, with many economic, cultural, and assimilation implications, that tens of thousands of Somalis have been relocating from one of the poorest, most backward, least developed, and least literate countries on the planet to one of the world’s most advanced, most literate, and most developed countries.

Somalia vs. USA
Mark Perry

Mark Perry
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

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