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The University of Alabama

Black Population Up in Alabama, People Reported as Both Black, White More than Doubles, Census Indicates

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Fourteen percent of all people in the United States identified themselves as black, either alone or in combination with another race, according to a report just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2010, 55 percent of the black population lived in the South, and 105 Southern counties had a black population of 50 percent or higher.

Annette Watters, manager of the State Data Center at the Culverhouse College of Commerce at The University of Alabama, said 11 of Alabama’s 67 counties are majority black counties:  Bullock (70 percent), Dallas (69 percent), Greene (81 percent), Hale (59 percent), Lowndes (74 percent), Macon (83 percent), Marengo (52 percent), Montgomery (55 percent), Perry (69 percent), Sumter (75 percent), and Wilcox (73 percent).

Of the total U.S. population of 308.7 million on April 1, 2010, 38.9 million people, or 13 percent, identified themselves as black alone, the Census Bureau said. In addition, 3.1 million people, or 1 percent, reported as black in combination with one or more other races. Together, these two groups comprise the black alone-or-in-combination population and totaled 42.0 million.

In Alabama, Watters said, 1.28 million people, or 26.8 percent, identified their race on their 2010 census forms as black alone or black in combination with another race.

“The 2000 census was the first time Americans could report that they have more than one race,” Watters said.  For that census year, 13,068 Alabamians reported that they had two races, one of which is black.  On the 2010 census forms, 29,807 Alabamians gave that answer, an increase of 128 percent.

The people in Alabama who reported that their only race is “Black or African-American” numbered 1.156 million in 2000 and 1.251 million in 2010, an increase of 8 percent.  While the black-alone-or-in-combination population in Alabama grew by 9.6 percent between censuses, the growth rate for the total Alabama population was 7.5 percent.

“The 2010 Census shows several things about race in America that seem to be contradictions, but really they are not,” Watters said. “For example, the majority of the black population lives in the South, but the state with the largest number of African-Americans, 3.3 million, is New York state. Of all respondents who reported being black in 2010, 55 percent lived in the South, 18 percent in the Midwest, 17 percent in the Northeast and 10 percent in the West.”

About 60 percent of blacks live in 10 states, but according to Watters, Alabama is not in the top ten list. The 10 states with the largest black alone-or-in-combination populations in 2010 were New York (3.3 million), Florida (3.2 million), Texas (3.2 million), Georgia (3.1 million), California (2.7 million), North Carolina (2.2 million), Illinois (2.0 million), Maryland (1.8 million), Virginia (1.7 million) and Ohio (1.5 million).

“The ranking is slightly different if we look at the black-alone race category instead of the black-alone-or-in-combination category,” Watters said.  The state with the 10th largest black-alone population is Louisiana (1.5 million), replacing Ohio (1.4 million).

The black alone-or-in-combination population in Florida grew by 29 percent, Georgia by 28 percent, Texas by 27 percent and North Carolina by 21 percent.

Concentrations of blacks outside the South tend to be in counties within metropolitan areas. There were 317 counties where the black alone-or-in-combination population was 25.0 to 49.9 percent of the population, and only 17 of these counties were not in the South. Of these 17, 15 were in metropolitan areas.

The District of Columbia, which is treated as a state equivalent in the Census Bureau’s reports about race, had the highest percentage of blacks alone-or-in-combination among states, with 52 percent in 2010, even though this population decreased by 10 percent between 2000 and 2010.

Although the South has the highest concentration of blacks of any region, Detroit, Mich., has the highest percentage of blacks among large cities. Birmingham ranks number four in this category. Among places with populations of 100,000 or more, the highest percentage of blacks alone-or-in-combination was found in Detroit (84 percent), followed by Jackson, Miss., (80 percent), Miami Gardens, Fla. (78 percent) and Birmingham (74 percent).

The multiple-race black population is more geographically dispersed than the black-alone population. A considerably higher percentage of the multiple-race black population lives in the West (23 percent), relative to the black-alone population (9 percent). While a large percentage of the multiple-race black population lives in the South (36 percent), this is much lower than the black alone population (57 percent).

Watters said people who reported only one race on their 2010 Census questionnaire are referred to as the race “alone” population. “For example, respondents who marked only the ‘Black or African American’ category would be included in the black alone population,” Watters said. “This population can be viewed as the minimum number of people reporting black.”

Individuals who chose more than one of the six race category options on the 2010 Census form are referred to as the racein combination” population.

“One way to define the black population is to combine those respondents who reported black alone with those who reported black in combination with one or more other races,” Watters said. “Another way to think of the black alone-or-in-combination population is the total number of people who reported black, whether or not they reported any other races.”

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.