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Facts for Features CB05-FF.01-2
January 10, 2005
Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 17) and
African-American History Month: February 2005

The birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. has been observed as a federal holiday on the third Monday in January since 1986. To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.

As of July 1, 2003, there were an estimated 38.7 million U.S. residents who were either black or black and at least one other race. This race group then made up 13.3 percent of the total U.S. population. <>


Among blacks age 25 and over, the proportion that had at least a high school diploma in 2003 — a record high. This proportion rose by 10 percentage points from 1993 to 2003. For blacks ages 25 to 29, the proportion is considerably higher: 88 percent.

Among blacks age 25 and over, the proportion that had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2003 — up 5 percentage points from 1993.

1.0 million
Among blacks age 25 and over, the number who had an advanced degree in 2003 (e.g., master’s, Ph.D., M.D. or J.D.). <>

$2.5 million
Estimated work life earnings for full-time, year-round, black workers with an advanced degree. For blacks (and people of other races), more education means higher career earnings: blacks without a high school diploma would earn less than $1 million during their work life, increasing to $1.0 million for those with a high school education and $1.7 million for those with a bachelor’s degree.

Serving Our Nation
2.3 million

Number of black military veterans in the United States in 2003.

Income and Poverty
About $30,000

The annual median income in 2003 of black households. This represents no change from 2002. <>

Poverty rate in 2003 for those reporting black as their only race. This rate was unchanged from 2002. <>

8.9 million

Number of black families in the United States. Of these, nearly one-half (47 percent) are married-couple families.

Among black married-couple families, 34 percent consist of two members, and 19 percent consist of five or more members. <>

Proportion of black children who live in a household maintained by a grandparent. <>

The proportion of black householders who own their own home.


The number of black physicians and surgeons. Blacks are represented in a wide variety of occupations. For instance, there are about 64,800 black postsecondary teachers; 26,300 chief executives; 33,900 lawyers; 5,600 news analysts, reporters and correspondents; and 1,500 legislators.

Population Distribution

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, the data in this section refer to people who reported black, whether or not they reported any other races.


1.6 million
The size of the increase in the black population between Census Day, April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2003. The rate of increase for this group was 4.4 percent, higher than the overall increase of 3.3 percent for the population as a whole.

61.4 million
The projected single-race black population of the United States as of July 1, 2050. According to this projection, blacks would constitute 15 percent of the nation’s total population on that date.

25.5 million
The net number of single-race black people who will have been added to the nation’s population between 2000 and 2050. The projected percentage increase of this population would be 71 percent. <>

The proportion of single-race blacks who live in the south.

The proportion of single-race blacks who live in the central cities of metropolitan areas. <>


3.6 million
The estimated black population of New York on July 1, 2003, highest of any state. Four other states had black populations that surpassed 2 million: Florida, California, Texas and Georgia.

The estimated proportion of Mississippi’s black population as of July 1, 2003, highest percentage of any state in the nation. Louisiana (33 percent), South Carolina (30 percent), Georgia and Maryland (29 percent each) and Alabama (27 percent) followed. The District of Columbia, classified as a state equivalent by the Census Bureau, has a population that is 60 percent black.

The number of blacks added to Florida’s population between Census Day, April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2003. Florida led all states in that category. Georgia, which added 133,300 blacks, was the runner-up. <>


1.4 million
The estimated number of black people in Cook County, Ill., on July 1, 2003. Cook led all the nation’s counties in the size of its black population. Los Angeles, Calif., also had a black population exceeding 1 million. <>

The number of blacks added to the population of Broward County, Fla., between Census Day, April 1, 2000, and July 1, 2003, the highest total of any county in the nation.

Age Distribution

The proportion of the black population under 18 as of July 1, 2003. At the other end of the spectrum, 8 percent of the black population was 65 or over.

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau Facts for Features series:
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 17) &
   African-American History Month (February)
  Back to School (August)
Labor Day (Sept. 5)
Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)   Grandparents Day (Sept. 11)
Women's History Month (March)   Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
   St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  Halloween (Oct. 31)
American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May)      Month (November)
Older Americans Month (May)   Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
Mother's Day (May 8)   Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24)
Father's Day (June 19)   The Holiday Season (December)
The Fourth of July (July 4)    
Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
Editor’s note: Some of the preceding data were collected in surveys and, therefore, are subject to sampling error. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: (301) 763-3030; fax: (301) 457-3670; or e-mail: <>.
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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office |  Last Revised: December 16, 2009