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Report Number WE-1
Component ID: #ti225292414


The 1990 census counted nearly 30 million Blacks, an increase of about 4 million from the 1980 census. Our population grew by 13 percent between 1980 and 1990, to about 12 percent of America’s population. Although most of the growth in the Black population is due to natural increase, immigration from Caribbean and African countries also contributed significantly to our growth.

Our life expectancy is increasing and we are growing older, however, our median age continues to be about 6 years lower than that for the White population. Less than one-tenth of our population is 65 years old and over. Black women, like women in most population groups, tend to live longer than Black men.

We are located in all States, ranging from about 2,000 in Vermont to over 2 million in New York. Blacks are largely an urban people; most of us live in cities and in large metropolitan areas. The majority of us live in the 20 largest metropolitan areas of the Nation. More of us are buying our homes, especially in the suburbs.

Between 1980 and 1990, we made significant gains in educational attainment and college enrollment. More Black women than Black men have completed college.

The number of Black households, especially female-headed Black households, has increased since 1980, in part because of the increase in divorce and separation rates. As a result, fewer of our children are being reared in two-parent households. Also, consistent with national trends, more of our men and women are choosing not to marry or to live alone.

A higher proportion of Black women than Black men are in the labor force; and there are now more Black females than Black males in the civilian labor force. The number of Blacks employed in professional jobs, such as lawyers, doctors, and engineers has increased.

The median income of Black married-couple families also improved and grew to 83 percent of comparable White families.

In 1989, our per capita income of $8,850 was lower than the national per capita income of $14,140. Poverty levels for Black persons and families were similar at the beginning and end of the decade, in part because of the effect of the recessions during the decade.

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