cartergwoodson__web.jpgBlack History Month: February 2014

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 on 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, US presidents proclaim February as National African-American History Month.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

After 10 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the US House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by a vote of 290-130 on Feb. 10, 1964. The bill prohibited any state or local government or public facility from denying access to anyone because of race or ethnic origin. It also gave the US Attorney General the power to bring school desegregation law suits.

Serving Our Nation

2.4 million
Number of black military veterans in the United States in 2012.

Population in the United States

44.5 million 
The number of blacks, either alone or in combination with one or more other races, on July 1, 2012, up 1.0 percent from July 1, 2011.77.4 million
The projected black, either alone or in combination, 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
The black population in New York, which led all states as of July 1, 2012. Texas had the largest numeric increase since 2011 (87,000). The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of blacks (51.6 percent), followed by Mississippi (38.0 percent).

1.3 million
Cook County, Ill. (Chicago) had the largest black population of any county in 2012 (1.3 million), and Harris, Texas (Houston) had the largest numeric increase since 2011 (20,000). Holmes, Miss., was the county with the highest percentage of blacks in the nation (83.1 percent).

Education in the United States

The percentage of blacks 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2012.

The percentage of blacks 25 and older who had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2012.

1.6 million
Among blacks 25 and older, the number who had an advanced degree in 2012.

3.7 million
Number of blacks enrolled in college in 2012 compared with 2.9 million in 2007, a 28 percent increase.

Voting in the United States

17.8 million
The number of blacks who voted in the 2012 presidential election. In comparison to the 2008 election, about 1.7 million additional black voters reported going to the polls in 2012.

Percent of blacks who voted in the 2012 presidential election, higher than the 64.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites who did so. This marks the first time that blacks have voted at a higher rate than whites since the Census Bureau started publishing statistics on voting by the eligible citizen population in 1996.

Families and Children
Among households with a black householder, the percentage that contained a family in 2013. There were 9.8 million black family households.


Among families with black householders, the percentage that were married couples in 2013.

1.3 million
Number of black grandparents who lived with their own grandchildren younger than 18 in 2012. Of this number, 47.6 percent were also responsible for their care.

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

The annual median income of black households in 2012, compared with the nation at $51,017.

Poverty rate in 2012 for blacks, while nationally it was 15.0 percent.

Percentage of blacks that were covered by health insurance during all or part of 2012. Nationally, 84.6 percent of all races were covered by health insurance.

Jobs in the United States

The percentage of civilian employed blacks 16 and older who worked in management, business, science and arts occupations, while 36.1 percent of the total population worked in these occupations.

Sources: Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012. Population Estimates; 2012 American Community Survey; 2013 Current Population Survey, Families and Living Arrangements; U.S. Census Bureau; The Diversifying Electorate