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Census 2000 Brief: The Black Population: 2000

Written by:
Report Number C2KBR/01-5

Census 2000 showed that the United States population on April 1, 2000 was 281.4 million. Of the total, 36.4 million, or 12.9 percent, reported1 Black or African American. This number includes 34.7 million people, or 12.3 percent, who reported only Black in addition to 1.8 million people, or 0.6 percent, who reported Black as well as one or more other races. The term Black is used in the text of this report to refer to the Black or African American population, while Black or African American is used in the text tables and graphs. Census 2000 asked separate questions on race and Hispanic or Latino origin. Hispanics who reported their race as Black, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, are included in the numbers for Blacks.

This report, part of a series that analyzes population and housing data collected from Census 2000, provides a portrait of the Black population in the United States and discusses its distribution at both the national and subnational levels. It is based on the Census 2000 Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File, which was among the first Census 2000 data products to be released and is used by each state to draw boundaries for legislative districts.2

The term “Black or African American” refers to people having origins in any of the Black race groups of Africa. It includes people who reported “Black, African Am., or Negro” or wrote in entries such as African American, Afro American, Nigerian, or Haitian.

Data on race has been collected since the first U.S. decennial census in 1790.

Blacks have been enumerated in every census.

1 In this report, the term “reported” is used to refer to the answers provided by respondents, as well as responses assigned during the editing and imputation processes.
2 This report discusses data for 50 states and the District of Columbia, but not Puerto Rico. The Census 2000 Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File was released on a state-by-state basis in March 2001.


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