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The Black Population in the United States: March 1995

These tables present data on the demographic, social, and economic characteristics of the Black population in the United States from the March 1995 supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS). Topics covered include geographic distribution, marital status, educational attainment, family and household type, labor force status, occupational distribution, earnings, family income, and poverty status. Data are presented for the United States, the South, and the combined North and West regions. Tables 1-15 provide data comparing the Black population to the non-Hispanic White population. A summary table presents data on selected social and economic characteristics of the White population.

NOTE: Percentages are rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent; therefore, the percentages in a distribution do not always add to exactly 100 percent. The totals, however, are always shown as 100. Moreover, individual figures are rounded to the nearest thousand without being adjusted to group totals, which are independently rounded; percentages are based on the unrounded numbers.

Source and Accuracy of Estimates

The data shown here are from the March 1995 Current Population Survey. All surveys, including the demographic surveys, are subject to sampling variability as well as survey design flaws, respondent classification errors, data processing mistakes, and undercoverage of the population. This undercoverage results from missed housing units and missed persons within sample households. Compared to the level of the 1990 decennial census, overall CPS undercoverage is about 8 percent. Undercoverage varies with age, sex, and race. For some groups, such as 30 to 34 year old Black males, the undercoverage is as high as almost 33 percent. The weighting procedures used by the Census Bureau partially correct for the bias due to undercoverage. However, its final impact on estimates is unknown. Additionally, because of methodological differences, use caution when comparing these data with data from other sources.

During the period April 1994 through June 1995, the Bureau of the Census systematically introduced a new sample design for the Current Population Survey (CPS) based on the results of the 1990 decennial census. During this phase-in period, CPS estimates were being made from two distinct sample designs, the old 1980 sample design and the new 1990 sample design. The March 1995 CPS consisted of 55 percent new (1990) sample and 45 percent old (1980) sample. The sample design does not permit the development of estimates for metropolitan/nonmetro- politan categories that are comparable to either the 1980 or 1990 census definitions. Some CPS estimates are thought to be more affected by this mixed sample than others. For example, it is thought that geographic estimates are subject to greater error and variability such as central city and suburban estimates. The causes of this variability are differences in coverage, errors in geographic recoding, and changes in CPS sample areas. The Census Bureau recommends that users exercise caution when analyzing data using these or related variables during this period.

The March 1994 CPS income and demographic supplement was the first to use computer-assisted survey information collection (CASIC) technology for its entire data collection process. This conversion to a completely computer-assisted data collection environment represented a major break in the March CPS data series. As a result, data from the March 1994 and 1995 CPS's are not strictly comparable to earlier years.


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