The New Nigerien Hausa Diaspora in the U.S.: surviving and building community on the margins of the global economy



This paper focuses on new Nigerien Hausa diaspora communities in U.S. cities. The economic and political policies of nation-states and international financial institutions exacerbate the abject poverty of Niger and impel Hausa to migrate to the U.S. where they work in the shadows of the formal economy or in the globalized informal economy. They rely on fluid, overlapping face-toface, imagined, and virtual communities to mitigate their marginalized position. Nigerien Hausa are creatively mediating and adapting global technologies of time-space compression—especially the Internet, telephones, and electronic money transfer services—to benefit and link their already established and newly emergent communities in diaspora. Based on multi-sited ethnographic evidence, this paper highlights the culturally specific ways that Nigerien Hausa navigate through global constraints and opportunities in their active efforts to survive and support their transnational families and communities, while maintaining dignity and solidarity.