Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Bruce Dayton


This research explores the effects of social networks on the ways that African immigrants in New York City secure, and sustain their livelihoods. Through lines of inquiry including social capital, livelihood resources, and economic activities, this research explores possible livelihood outcomes of Africans immigrants in New York City in relation to their social networks. By exploring themes through case studies of immigrants from different countries on the African continent, this research illustrates how becoming embedded in social networks in ones’ geographical jurisdiction widens an individual’s social capital, which in turn contributes to the probability of that individual in securing and holding a job and experiencing less significant economic shocks. There is a high possibility that when a person moved from their country of origin to a new geographical area, their social ties, ethnic linguistic and cultural traits, as well as the opportunity for early labor market will be diminish. Many African immigrants immigrate and end up in areas that are friendly to their ethnic, linguistic, and cultural traits, which is often areas with other minority groups. The interviews and focus group discussion provided an opportunity for participants to express themselves about how social networks have contributed to their means of living in New York City, how they were able to adopt to the new culture as new comers in the United States, and how they managed to secured and maintained their livelihood in New York City.

Keywords: Social Networks, Sustainable Livelihood, Social Capital, Africa, Immigrants


African Studies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Migration Studies | Urban Studies and Planning | Work, Economy and Organizations