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 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 into Black History Month. Each year, U.S. presidents proclaim February as National African-American History Month.
The following figures are from the U.S. Census Bureua:
• 43.9 million - number of black Americans, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, on July 1, 2011, up 1.6 percent from the census on April 1, 2010.
• 77.4 million - projected black population of the United States (including those of more than one race) for July 1, 2060. On that date, according to the projection, blacks would constitute 18.4 percent of the nation’s total population.
• 3.7 million - black population in New York, which led all states as of July 1, 2011. Texas had the largest numeric increase since April 1, 2010 (84,000). The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of black residents (52.2 percent), followed by Mississippi (38.0 percent).
• 1.3 million - black population in Cook County, Ill., which had the largest black population of any county in 2011. Fulton County, Ga., had the largest numeric increase since 2010 (13,000). Holmes County, Miss., was the county with the highest percentage of blacks in the nation (82.9 percent).
• 2.3 million - number of black military veterans in the United States in 2011.
• 82.5 percentage - percentage of blacks 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher education in 2011.
• 18.4 percent - percentage of blacks 25 and older who had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2011.
• 1.6 million - among blacks 25 and older, the number who had an advanced degree in 2011.
• 3.1 million - number of blacks enrolled in college in 2011, a 74 percent increase since 2001.
• 11.1 million - the number of blacks who voted in the 2010 election, an increase from 10 percent of the total electorate in 2006 to 12 percent in 2010.
• 55 percent - turnout rate in the 2008 presidential election for the 18- to 24-year-old black population, an 8 percentage point increase from 2004. Blacks had the highest turnout rate in this age group.
• 65 percent - turnout rate among black citizens regardless of age in the 2008 presidential election, up about 5 percentage points from 2004. Looking at voter turnout by race and Hispanic origin, non-Hispanic whites and blacks had the highest turnout levels.
• $32,229 - annual median income of black households in 2011, a decline of 2.7 percent from 2010.
• 27.6 percent - poverty rate in 2011 for blacks.
• 80.5 percent - percentage of blacks who were covered by health insurance during all or part of 2011.
• 61.9 percent - among households with a black householder, the percentage that contained a family in 2012.
• 45.2 percent - among families with black householders, the percentage that were married couples in 2012.
• 1.2 million - number of black grandparents who lived with their own grandchildren younger than 18 in 2011. Of this number, 48.5 percent were also responsible for their care.
• 43.4 percent - nationally, the percentage of households with a householder who was black who lived in owner-occupied homes in 2011.
• 28.2 percent - percentage of blacks 16 and older who worked in management, business, science and arts occupations.
• $135.7 billion - receipts for black-owned businesses in 2007, up 53.1 percent from 2002. The number of black-owned businesses totaled 1.9 million in 2007, up 60.5 percent.
• 37.7 percent - percentage of black-owned businesses in 2007 in health care and social assistance, repair and maintenance, and personal and laundry services.