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Facts for Features
CB14-FF.03
JAN. 16, 2014

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Black (African-American) History Month: February 2014

To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. Each year, U.S. presidents proclaim February as National African-American History Month.

Note: The reference to the black population in this publication is to single-race blacks ("black alone") except in the first section on "Population." In that section the reference is to black alone or in combination with other races; a reference to respondents who said they were one race (black) or more than one race (black plus other races).
Changing Distributions

Population

44.5 million

The number of blacks, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, on July 1, 2012, up 1.0 percent from July 1, 2011.
Source: Population Estimates
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/PEP/2012/PEPSR5H?slice=Year~est72012>

77.4 million

The projected black, either alone or in combination, population of the United States (including those of more than one race) for July 1, 2060. On that date, according to the projection, blacks would constitute 18.4 percent of the nation's total population.
Source: Population projections Table 4 and 5
<http://www.census.gov/population/projections/data/national/2012/summarytables.html>

3.7 million

The black population in New York, which led all states as of July 1, 2012. Texas had the largest numeric increase since 2011 (87,000). The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of blacks (51.6 percent), followed by Mississippi (38.0 percent).
Source: Population Estimates
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb13-112.html>

1.3 million

Cook County, Ill. (Chicago) had the largest black population of any county in 2012 (1.3 million), and Harris, Texas (Houston) had the largest numeric increase since 2011 (20,000). Holmes, Miss., was the county with the highest percentage of blacks in the nation (83.1 percent).
Source: Population Estimates
<http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/population/cb13-112.html>

Serving Our Nation

2.4 million

Number of black military veterans in the United States in 2012.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/C21001B>

Education

83.2%

The percentage of blacks 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2012.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201//popgroup~004>

18.7%

The percentage of blacks 25 and older who had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2012.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201//popgroup~004>

1.6 million

Among blacks 25 and older, the number who had an advanced degree in 2012.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/B15002B>

3.7 million

Number of blacks enrolled in college in 2012 compared with 2.9 million in 2007, a 28 percent increase.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/B14007B/0100000US>
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/07_1YR/B14001B/0100000US>

Voting

17.8 million

The number of blacks who voted in the 2012 presidential election. In comparison to the 2008 election, about 1.7 million additional black voters reported going to the polls in 2012.
Source: The Diversifying Electorate — Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin 2012
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-568.pdf>

66.2%

Percent of blacks who voted in the 2012 presidential election, higher than the 64.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites who did so. This marks the first time that blacks have voted at a higher rate than whites since the Census Bureau started publishing statistics on voting by the eligible citizen population in 1996.
Source: The Diversifying Electorate — Voting Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin 2012
<http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-568.pdf>

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

$33,321

The annual median income of black households in 2012, compared with the nation at $51,017.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012, P60-245 Table 1
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/>

27.2%

Poverty rate in 2012 for blacks, while nationally it was 15.0 percent.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2012/table3.pdf>

81.0%

Percentage of blacks that were covered by health insurance during all or part of 2012. Nationally, 84.6 percent of all races were covered by health insurance.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032013/health/h01_000.htm>

Families and Children

61.8%

Among households with a black householder, the percentage that contained a family in 2013. There were 9.8 million black family households.
Source: 2013 Current Population Survey, Families and Living Arrangements, Table HH-1 and F1
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013H.html>

45.7%

Among families with black householders, the percentage that were married couples in 2013.
Source: 2013 Current Population Survey, Families and Living Arrangements, Table F1
<http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013F.html>

1.3 million

Number of black grandparents who lived with their own grandchildren younger than 18 in 2012. Of this number, 47.6 percent were also responsible for their care.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/B10051B>

Jobs

28.1%

The percentage of civilian employed blacks 16 and older who worked in management, business, science and arts occupations, while 36.1 percent of the total population worked in these occupations.
Source: 2012 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201//popgroup~004>
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/12_1YR/S0201>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014