African American - Demographics

Demographics

Further information: List of U.S. communities with African American majority populations, List of U.S. counties with African American majority populations, and List of U.S. states by African-American population

In 1790, when the first U.S. Census was taken, Africans (including slaves and free people) numbered about 760,000—about 19.3% of the population. In 1860, at the start of the Civil War, the African American population had increased to 4.4 million, but the percentage rate dropped to 14% of the overall population of the country. The vast majority were slaves, with only 488,000 counted as "freemen". By 1900, the black population had doubled and reached 8.8 million. In 1910, about 90% of African Americans lived in the South, but large numbers began migrating north looking for better job opportunities and living conditions, and to escape Jim Crow laws and racial violence. The Great Migration, as it was called, spanned the 1890s to the 1970s. From 1916 through the 1960s, more than 6 million black people moved north. But in the 1970s and 1980s, that trend reversed, with more African Americans moving south to the Sun Belt than leaving it.

The following table of the African American population in the United States over time shows that the African American population, as a percentage of the total population, declined until 1930 and has been rising since then.

African Americans in the United States
Year Number % of total
population
% Change
(10 yr)
Slaves % in slavery
1790 757,208 19.3% (highest) 697,681 92%
1800 1,002,037 18.9% 32.3% 893,602 89%
1810 1,377,808 19.0% 37.5% 1,191,362 86%
1820 1,771,656 18.4% 28.6% 1,538,022 87%
1830 2,328,642 18.1% 31.4% 2,009,043 86%
1840 2,873,648 16.8% 23.4% 2,487,355 87%
1850 3,638,808 15.7% 26.6% 3,204,287 88%
1860 4,441,830 14.1% 22.1% 3,953,731 89%
1870 4,880,009 12.7% 9.9%
1880 6,580,793 13.1% 34.9%
1890 7,488,788 11.9% 13.8%
1900 8,833,994 11.6% 18.0%
1910 9,827,763 10.7% 11.2%
1920 10.5 million 9.9% 6.8%
1930 11.9 million 9.7% (lowest) 13%
1940 12.9 million 9.8% 8.4%
1950 15.0 million 10.0% 16%
1960 18.9 million 10.5% 26%
1970 22.6 million 11.1% 20%
1980 26.5 million 11.7% 17%
1990 30.0 million 12.1% 13%
2000 34.6 million 12.3% 15%
2010 38.9 million 12.6% 12%
African-American % of Population (1790-2010) by U.S. State
State/Territory 1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
United States of America 19.3% 18.9% 19.0% 18.4% 18.1% 16.8% 15.7% 14.1% 12.7% 13.1% 11.9% 11.6% 10.7% 9.9% 9.7% 9.8% 10.0% 10.5% 11.1% 11.7% 12.1% 12.3% 12.6%
Alabama 41.4% 29.0% 33.2% 38.5% 43.3% 44.7% 45.4% 47.7% 47.5% 44.8% 45.2% 42.5% 38.4% 35.7% 34.7% 32.0% 30.0% 26.2% 25.6% 25.3% 26.0% 26.2%
Alaska 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 3.0% 3.0% 3.4% 4.1% 3.5% 3.3%
Arizona 0.3% 0.3% 0.4% 1.5% 1.5% 1.0% 2.4% 2.5% 3.0% 3.5% 3.3% 3.0% 2.8% 3.0% 3.1% 4.1%
Arkansas 13.0% 11.7% 15.5% 20.9% 22.7% 25.6% 25.2% 26.3% 27.4% 28.0% 28.1% 27.0% 25.8% 24.8% 22.3% 21.8% 18.3% 16.3% 15.9% 15.7% 15.4%
California 1.0% 1.1% 0.8% 0.7% 0.9% 0.7% 0.9% 1.1% 1.4% 1.8% 4.4% 5.6% 7.0% 7.7% 7.4% 6.7% 6.2%
Colorado 0.1% 1.1% 1.3% 1.5% 1.6% 1.4% 1.2% 1.1% 1.1% 1.5% 2.3% 3.0% 3.5% 4.0% 3.8% 4.0%
Connecticut 2.3% 2.5% 2.6% 2.9% 2.7% 2.6% 2.1% 1.9% 1.8% 1.9% 1.6% 1.7% 1.4% 1.5% 1.8% 1.9% 2.7% 4.2% 6.0% 7.0% 8.3% 9.1% 10.1%
Delaware 21.6% 22.4% 23.8% 24.0% 24.9% 25.0% 22.2% 19.3% 18.2% 18.0% 16.8% 16.6% 15.4% 13.6% 13.7% 13.5% 13.7% 13.6% 14.3% 16.1% 16.9% 19.2% 21.4%
District of Columbia 30.4% 33.1% 31.2% 30.1% 29.1% 26.6% 19.1% 33.0% 33.6% 32.8% 31.1% 28.5% 25.1% 27.1% 28.2% 35.0% 53.9% 71.1% 70.3% 65.8% 60.0% 50.7%
Florida 47.1% 48.7% 46.0% 44.6% 48.8% 47.0% 42.5% 43.7% 41.0% 34.0% 29.4% 27.1% 21.8% 17.8% 15.3% 13.8% 13.6% 14.6% 16.0%
Georgia 35.9% 37.1% 42.5% 44.4% 42.6% 41.0% 42.4% 44.0% 46.0% 47.0% 46.7% 46.7% 45.1% 41.7% 36.8% 34.7% 30.9% 28.5% 25.9% 26.8% 27.0% 28.7% 30.5%
Hawaii 0.2% 0.4% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.5% 0.8% 1.0% 1.8% 2.5% 1.8% 1.6%
Idaho 0.4% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.2% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4% 0.6%
Illinois 7.4% 6.4% 2.5% 1.5% 0.8% 0.6% 0.4% 1.1% 1.5% 1.5% 1.8% 1.9% 2.8% 4.3% 4.9% 7.4% 10.3% 12.8% 14.7% 14.8% 15.1% 14.5%
Indiana 4.4% 2.6% 1.0% 1.1% 1.0% 1.1% 0.8% 1.5% 2.0% 2.1% 2.3% 2.2% 2.8% 3.5% 3.6% 4.4% 5.8% 6.9% 7.6% 7.8% 8.4% 9.1%
Iowa 0.4% 0.2% 0.2% 0.5% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6% 0.7% 0.8% 0.7% 0.7% 0.8% 0.9% 1.2% 1.4% 1.7% 2.1% 2.9%
Kansas 0.6% 4.7% 4.3% 3.5% 3.5% 3.2% 3.3% 3.5% 3.6% 3.8% 4.2% 4.8% 5.3% 5.8% 5.7% 5.9%
Kentucky 17.0% 18.6% 20.2% 22.9% 24.7% 24.3% 22.5% 20.4% 16.8% 16.5% 14.4% 13.3% 11.4% 9.8% 8.6% 7.5% 6.9% 7.1% 7.2% 7.1% 7.1% 7.3% 7.8%
Louisiana 55.2% 51.8% 58.5% 55.0% 50.7% 49.5% 50.1% 51.5% 50.0% 47.1% 43.1% 38.9% 36.9% 35.9% 32.9% 31.9% 29.8% 29.4% 30.8% 32.5% 32.0%
Maine 0.6% 0.5% 0.4% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4% 0.5% 1.2%
Maryland 34.7% 36.7% 38.2% 36.1% 34.9% 32.3% 28.3% 24.9% 22.5% 22.5% 20.7% 19.8% 17.9% 16.9% 16.9% 16.6% 16.5% 16.7% 17.8% 22.7% 24.9% 27.9% 29.4%
Massachusetts 1.4% 1.5% 1.4% 1.3% 1.2% 1.2% 0.9% 0.8% 1.0% 1.0% 1.0% 1.1% 1.1% 1.2% 1.2% 1.3% 1.6% 2.2% 3.1% 3.9% 5.0% 5.4% 6.6%
Michigan 3.7% 3.0% 2.1% 0.8% 0.3% 0.6% 0.9% 1.0% 0.9% 0.7% 0.7% 0.6% 1.6% 3.5% 4.0% 6.9% 9.2% 11.2% 12.9% 13.9% 14.2% 14.2%
Minnesota 0.6% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4% 0.4% 0.4% 0.5% 0.7% 0.9% 1.3% 2.2% 3.5% 5.2%
Mississippi 41.5% 47.0% 44.1% 48.4% 52.3% 51.2% 55.3% 53.7% 57.5% 57.6% 58.5% 56.2% 52.2% 50.2% 49.2% 45.3% 42.0% 36.8% 35.2% 35.6% 36.3% 37.0%
Missouri 17.6% 15.9% 18.3% 15.6% 13.2% 10.0% 6.9% 6.7% 5.6% 5.2% 4.8% 5.2% 6.2% 6.5% 7.5% 9.0% 10.3% 10.5% 10.7% 11.2% 11.6%
Montana 0.9% 0.9% 1.0% 0.6% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4%
Nebraska 0.3% 0.6% 0.5% 0.8% 0.6% 0.6% 1.0% 1.0% 1.1% 1.5% 2.1% 2.7% 3.1% 3.6% 4.0% 4.5%
Nevada 0.7% 0.8% 0.8% 0.5% 0.3% 0.6% 0.4% 0.6% 0.6% 2.7% 4.7% 5.7% 6.4% 6.6% 6.8% 8.1%
New Hampshire 0.6% 0.5% 0.5% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.3% 0.3% 0.4% 0.6% 0.7% 1.1%
New Jersey 7.7% 8.0% 7.6% 7.2% 6.4% 5.8% 4.9% 3.8% 3.4% 3.4% 3.3% 3.7% 3.5% 3.7% 5.2% 5.5% 6.6% 8.5% 10.7% 12.6% 13.4% 13.6% 13.7%
New Mexico 0.0% 0.1% 0.2% 0.8% 1.2% 0.8% 0.5% 1.6% 0.7% 0.9% 1.2% 1.8% 1.9% 1.8% 2.0% 1.9% 2.1%
New York 7.6% 5.3% 4.2% 2.9% 2.3% 2.1% 1.6% 1.3% 1.2% 1.3% 1.2% 1.4% 1.5% 1.9% 3.3% 4.2% 6.2% 8.4% 11.9% 13.7% 15.9% 15.9% 15.9%
North Carolina 26.8% 29.4% 32.2% 34.4% 35.9% 35.6% 36.4% 36.4% 36.6% 38.0% 34.7% 33.0% 31.6% 29.8% 29.0% 27.5% 25.8% 24.5% 22.2% 22.4% 22.0% 21.6% 21.5%
North Dakota 1.0% 0.3% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.4% 0.4% 0.6% 0.6% 1.2%
Ohio 0.5% 0.8% 0.8% 1.0% 1.1% 1.3% 1.6% 2.4% 2.5% 2.4% 2.3% 2.3% 3.2% 4.7% 4.9% 6.5% 8.1% 9.1% 10.0% 10.6% 11.5% 12.2%
Oklahoma 8.4% 7.0% 8.3% 7.4% 7.2% 7.2% 6.5% 6.6% 6.7% 6.8% 7.4% 7.6% 7.4%
Oregon 0.5% 0.2% 0.4% 0.3% 0.4% 0.3% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.8% 1.0% 1.3% 1.4% 1.6% 1.6% 1.8%
Pennsylvania 2.4% 2.7% 2.9% 2.9% 2.8% 2.8% 2.3% 2.0% 1.9% 2.0% 2.0% 2.5% 2.5% 3.3% 4.5% 4.7% 6.1% 7.5% 8.6% 8.8% 9.2% 10.0% 10.8%
Rhode Island 6.3% 5.3% 4.8% 4.3% 3.7% 3.0% 2.5% 2.3% 2.3% 2.3% 2.1% 2.1% 1.8% 1.7% 1.4% 1.5% 1.8% 2.1% 2.7% 2.9% 3.9% 4.5% 5.7%
South Carolina 43.7% 43.2% 48.4% 52.8% 55.6% 56.4% 58.9% 58.6% 58.9% 60.7% 59.8% 58.4% 55.2% 51.4% 45.6% 42.9% 38.8% 34.8% 30.5% 30.4% 29.8% 29.5% 27.9%
South Dakota 0.0% 0.6% 0.3% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.2% 0.3% 0.5% 0.6% 1.3%
Tennessee 10.6% 13.2% 17.5% 19.6% 21.4% 22.7% 24.5% 25.5% 25.6% 26.1% 24.4% 23.8% 21.7% 19.3% 18.3% 17.4% 16.1% 16.5% 15.8% 15.8% 16.0% 16.4% 16.7%
Texas 27.5% 30.3% 31.0% 24.7% 21.8% 20.4% 17.7% 15.9% 14.7% 14.4% 12.7% 12.4% 12.5% 12.0% 11.9% 11.5% 11.8%
Utah 0.4% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.3% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.4% 0.5% 0.6% 0.6% 0.7% 0.8% 1.1%
Vermont 0.3% 0.4% 0.3% 0.4% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% 0.2% 0.5% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.2% 0.3% 0.5% 1.0%
Virginia 43.4% 44.6% 47.1% 47.8% 47.9% 46.9% 45.0% 43.3% 41.9% 41.8% 38.4% 35.6% 32.6% 29.9% 26.8% 24.7% 22.1% 20.6% 18.5% 18.9% 18.8% 19.6% 19.4%
Washington 12.7% 0.3% 0.9% 0.4% 0.4% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.4% 0.4% 1.3% 1.7% 2.1% 2.6% 3.1% 3.2% 3.6%
West Virginia 9.5% 9.8% 11.5% 12.1% 11.2% 9.6% 7.8% 5.6% 4.1% 4.2% 4.3% 4.5% 5.3% 5.9% 6.6% 6.2% 5.7% 4.8% 3.9% 3.3% 3.1% 3.2% 3.4%
Wisconsin 1.2% 1.8% 0.6% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.2% 0.4% 0.4% 0.8% 1.9% 2.9% 3.9% 5.0% 5.7% 6.3%
Wyoming 2.0% 1.4% 1.5% 1.0% 1.5% 0.7% 0.6% 0.4% 0.9% 0.7% 0.8% 0.7% 0.8% 0.8% 0.8%
Puerto Rico 8.0% 12.4%

By 1990, the African American population reached about 30 million and represented 12% of the U.S. population, roughly the same proportion as in 1900. In 2010, 38.9 million Americans identified as "Black or African American," representing 12.6% of the population. Controversy has surrounded the "accurate" population count of African Americans for decades. The NAACP believed it was under counted intentionally to minimize the significance of the black population in order to reduce their political power base.

At the time of the 2000 Census, 54.8% of African Americans lived in the South. In that year, 17.6% of African Americans lived in the Northeast and 18.7% in the Midwest, while only 8.9% lived in the western states. The west does have a sizable black population in certain areas, however. California, the nation's most populous state, has the fifth largest African American population, only behind New York, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. According to the 2000 Census, approximately 2.05% of African Americans identified as Hispanic or Latino in origin, many of whom may be of Brazilian, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Haitian, or other Latin American descent. The only self-reported ancestral groups larger than African Americans are the Irish and Germans. Because many African Americans trace their ancestry to colonial American origins, some simply self-identify as "American".

Read more about this topic:  African American

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