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Facts for Features: National African-American (Black) History Month: February 2018

Press Release Number CB18-FF.01

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 to a month. Since then, U.S. presidents have proclaimed February as National African-American History Month.

The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys. We appreciate the public’s cooperation as we continuously measure America’s people, places and economy.

Note: The reference to the black population in this publication is to single-race black people (“black alone”) unless otherwise noted.

Did You Know?

46.8 million

The black population, either alone or in combination with one or more races, in the United States.


2.1 million

The number of black military veterans in the United States nationwide.


29.0 %

The percentage of the black population 16 and older working in management, business, science and arts occupations in 2016.

Source: (Source includes more on occupations, commuting and industries.)

87.1 %

Percentage of African-Americans completing high school.

Source: (Source includes more on education, including advanced degrees and school enrollment.)


The number of black-owned employer firm businesses in the United States in 2015.


Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

More Stats

See a detailed profile on the black population from the 2016 American Community Survey. Statistics include:

  • Families and children
  • Marital status
  • Grandparents living with grandchildren
  • Jobs
  • Labor force participation
  • Occupation
  • Commuting
  • Housing

Related News Products

Stats for Stories

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

Black (African American) History Month (February)
Women's History Month (March)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)
Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
The Fourth of July (July 4)
Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Thanksgiving Day/Holiday Season (November-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; or e-mail: pio@census.gov.

Profile America's Facts for Features provides statistics related to observances and holidays not covered by Stats for Stories. For observances not listed below, visit our Stats for Stories web page. 

Profile America's Stats for Stories provides links to timely story ideas highlighting the Census Bureau's newsworthy statistics that relate to current events, observances, holidays, and anniversaries. The story ideas are intended to assist the media in story mining and producing content for their respective audiences.




Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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