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Census Bureau Releases First Look at African-American Population Since Census 2000

Report Released by Census Director at Black Mayors Annual Conference in Houston

HOUSTON About 80 percent of African-Americans have earned at least a high school diploma and 65 percent are in the labor force, according to a report released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau. The report also shows that 52 percent of African-American married couples had incomes of $50,000 or more in 2001.

Census Bureau Director C. Louis Kincannon said, "This report is being released to coincide with the gathering in Houston this week of the nation's African-American mayors. It is the first look since Census 2000 at the demographic and socioeconomic state of blacks in America. We hope it will be the subject of much serious discussion by the mayors."

The report, The Black Population in the United States: March 2002, [PDF 70.6Kb] presents the latest tabulations on such characteristics as geographic and age distribution, marital status, family type and size, educational attainment, labor force participation, occupation, income and poverty.

Other highlights:

Twenty-seven percent of African-American married-couple families had incomes of $75,000 or more in 2001.

African-American women participated in the labor force at a slightly higher rate (62 percent) than their non-Hispanic white counterparts (60 percent). On the other hand, African-American men were somewhat less likely than non-Hispanic white males to participate in the labor force 68 percent versus 73 percent.

For African-American men, the most common occupational category was operator, fabricator and laborer, in which 28 percent were employed. About 19 percent each worked in three other occupational categories: technical, sales and administrative support jobs; service occupations; and managerial and professional specialty jobs.

Among African-American women, 36 percent worked in technical, sales and administrative support jobs and about 27 percent each in managerial and professional specialty jobs and in service occupations.

African-American women age 25 and over were more likely than their male counterparts to have earned at least a bachelor's degree (18 percent versus 16 percent). (See Figure 6 in report.)

African-Americans have larger families than non-Hispanic whites. For example, 20 percent of African-American married-couple families consisted of five or more members, compared with 12 percent of their non-Hispanic white counterparts.

Nearly one-half (48 percent) of all African-American families were married-couple families; for non-Hispanic white families, the corresponding figure was 82 percent.

African-Americans were less likely than non-Hispanic whites to be currently married (35 percent compared with 57 percent).

The majority of African-Americans (55 percent) resided in the South.

The findings are from the annual demographic supplement to the March 2002 Current Population Survey. As in all surveys, the data are subject to sampling variability and other sources of error.

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