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Black Population Moving South

African-Americans represent 12.6 percent of U.S.
  • January 23 2012

Is the great migration reversing? The Black population of the U.S. is now heading south, at the expense of the Northeast and Midwest.

According to the 2010 Census, 56.5 percent of the Black population lived in the South, and increase of nearly two percentage points from 2000. Much of this geographic migration appeared to come from Northern climes, as the African-American share of the populations of the Northeast and Midwest declined. In the West, the Black share of the population stayed effectively flat.

Overall, the population of people who identified themselves as Black grew 12.3 percent to 38,929,319 in 2010 from 34,658,190 in 2000, faster than the total population growth rate of 9.7 percent. African Americans made up 12.6 percent of the U.S. population in 2010.

While the South has often had more African Americans compared to other regions, the shift in migration patterns was pronounced. For example, African Americans made up 30.5 percent of Georgia’s population in 2010, and the number of Blacks in that state increased more than 25 percent between 2000 and 2010. Compare that to Michigan, where African Americans accounted for 14.2 percent of the 2010 population, but the number fell about 1 percent.

Geographically, six states accounted for about a quarter of the Black population in 2010. Mississippi had the highest at 37 percent, followed by Louisiana (32 percent), Georgia (30.5 percent), Maryland (29.4 percent), South Carolina (27.9 percent) and Alabama (26.2 percent). More than half (50.7 percent) of Washington D.C.’s population was African American, but, interestingly, the number of Blacks in the capital dropped about 11 percent.

The cities with the largest African-American populations in 2010 were New York City (2.08 million), Chicago (887,608), Philadelphia (661,839), Detroit (590,226) and Houston (498,466). In terms of share of the total population, the places with the largest African-American populations were: Detroit (82.7 percent), Jackson, MS (79.4 percent), Miami Gardens, FL (76.3 percent), Birmingham, AL (73.4 percent) and Baltimore (63.7 percent).


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