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Majority of the Black Population Lived in the South

November 21, 2011
Written by: Sonya Rastogi, Tallese D. Johnson, Elizabeth M. Hoeffel and Malcolm P. Drewery, Jr.
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The Black population was highly concentrated in counties in the South.  In 106 counties, the Black alone-or-in-combination population represented 50 percent or more of the total county population.  All of these counties were located in the South except for the city of St. Louis, MO, which is considered a county equivalent. These patterns were similar for the Black alone population.


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Concentrations of Blacks outside of the South tended to be in counties located within metropolitan statistical areas.  There were 317 counties where the Black alone-or-in-combination population was 25.0 percent to 49.9 percent of the county population, and only 17 of these counties were not in the South.  Of these 17 counties, 15 were in metro areas.  This pattern was similar for the Black alone population.

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Although the Black alone-or-in-combination population and the Black alone population were not as concentrated in counties in midwestern states, in some metro areas, such as around Chicago, IL and Detroit, MI, the proportion Black was much higher than the national average of 13 percent.  Also, in some metro areas in the West, such as around San Francisco, CA and Sacramento, CA, the proportion Black was above the national average.

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The Black population in the South experienced mixed growth – some counties experienced an increase, while others experienced a decline.  Among the 1,558 counties with a Black alone-or-in-combination population over 1,000 people, over one-third (536 counties) had an increase of 25 percent or more from 2000 to 2010.  On the other hand, 100 counties had a decrease of over 10 percent.  The Black alone-or-in-combination population in counties located in northeastern states such as Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania grew significantly, as well as counties in the South, specifically Florida, which had a number of counties that grew by 25 percent or more.

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Large growth in the Black alone-or-in-combination population also occurred in the West and sections of the Midwest.  Counties in Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington grew substantially between 2000 and 2010.  The Midwest had pockets of high growth in states such as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

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The Black alone-or-in-combination population in the South experienced the largest percentage decline between 2000 and 2010.  Counties located in the southern states such as Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia experienced greater declines in the Black alone-or-in-combination population compared with the rest of the nation.  The Black alone population had similar results.

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Black and White Multiple-Race Population More Than Doubled

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People who reported their race as both Black and White more than doubled from about 785,000 in 2000 to 1.8 million in 2010. This group’s share of the multiple-race Black population increased from 45 percent in 2000 to 59 percent in 2010.

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