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Jesse McKinnon


Majority of African Americans Live in 10 States; New York City and Chicago Are Cities With Largest Black Populations

About 6 in 10 people reporting as Black or African American, alone or in combination with other races, resided in 10 states where nearly half the U.S. population lived last year, according to new Census 2000 analysis released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau.

The Black Population: 2000, one in a series of Census 2000 briefs, shows that 36.4 million people, or 12.9 percent of the total population, reported as Black or African American. This number includes 34.7 million, or 12.3 percent, who reported as Black alone, in addition to 1.8 million, or 0.6 percent, who reported as Black in combination with one or more other races.

The 10 states where 60 percent of African Americans resided were: New York, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, Michigan and Louisiana. Five of these had more than 2 million Blacks each: New York, California, Texas, Florida and Georgia.

Other highlights of the brief:


  • Of all the people who reported as Black in Census 2000, 54 percent lived in the South, 19 percent lived in the Midwest, 18 percent lived in the Northeast and 10 percent lived in the West.
  • The region with the highest proportion of people reporting Black as a percentage of its total population was the South (20 percent), followed by the Northeast (12 percent), the Midwest (11 percent), and the West (6 percent).


  • In each of 10 southern states -- Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi -- more than 1 million people reported as Black.
  • New York was the state with the largest number of people reporting as Black in 2000 (3,014,385).


  • There were 96 counties where people reporting as Black comprised at least 50 percent of the total population, and 95 were in the South.
  • In the Northeast, people reporting as Black were concentrated in a band of counties extending from Philadelphia to Providence, R.I. and along the Hudson Valley northward from New York city.
  • Although people reporting as Black were not concentrated in Midwestern counties, in some metropolitan counties, around cities such as Chicago, Gary, Ind., and Detroit, Blacks comprised a sizeable proportion of the population.
  • Western counties with large concentrations of people reporting as Black were located in Southern California, the San Francisco and Sacramento areas, Denver and Colorado Springs, and Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state.


  • New York city had the largest number of people reporting as Black with about 2.3 million, followed by Chicago, 1.1 million, and Detroit, Philadelphia and Houston, which had between 500,000 and 1 million each.
  • Among places with 100,000 or more population, Gary had the highest percentage of people reporting as Black, 85 percent, followed by Detroit, with 83 percent.

Census 2000 data on race are not directly comparable with data from the 1990 census or earlier censuses because in 2000, for the first time, respondents could report one or more races.

Additional Census 2000 briefs will be released over the next several months on other races and on topics such as age, sex and housing. A listing of Census 2000 briefs can be found on the Census Bureau's Web site at <www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs.html>.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: May 19, 2016