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Black Diversity in Metropolitan America

 

John R. Logan and Glenn Deane

Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research

University at Albany

 

August 15, 2003

 

This report is based on data from the 1990 and 2000 Census of Population, analyzed with the assistance of Mumford Center researcher Hyoung-jin Shin.?This report updates the report released February 17, 2003 that used the Census 2000 Supplemental Survey (for details, see Technical Notes page).

 

Early reports from Census 2000 about the growing diversity of the American population have emphasized the large increases in the Hispanic and Asian minorities in many regions of the country. There are also substantial differences within the black population that are worthy of attention.

 

The number of black Americans with recent roots in sub-Saharan Africa nearly tripled during the 1990’s.The number with origins in the Caribbean increased by over 60 percent. Census 2000 shows that Afro-Caribbeans in the United States number over 1.5 million, larger than some more visible national-origin groups such as Cubans and Koreans.Africans number over 600 thousand.?In some major metropolitan regions, these "new" black groups amount to 20% or more of the black population.And nationally nearly 25% of the growth of the black population between 1990 and 2000 was due to people from Africa and the Caribbean.

 

This report summarizes what is known about the social backgrounds and residential locations of non-Hispanic blacks in metropolitan America.Among blacks, both the Afro-Caribbean population (people from such places as Jamaica and Haiti) and people with recent sub-Saharan African ancestry (from places like Nigeria and Ghana) are distinguished from the longer established African Americans.

 

Highlights:

  • It is well known that the socioeconomic profile of non-Hispanic blacks is unfavorable compared to whites, Asians, and Hispanics.There is also striking variation within America’s black population.The social and economic profile of Afro-Caribbeans and Africans is far above that of African Americans, and even better than that of Hispanics.
  • Afro-Caribbeans are heavily concentrated on the East Coast.Six out of ten live in the New York, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale metropolitan regions.More than half are Haitian in Miami; Haitians are well represented but outnumbered by Jamaicans in New York and Fort Lauderdale.
  • America’s African population, on the other hand, is much more geographically dispersed.The largest numbers are in Washington and New York.In both places the majority are from West Africa, especially Ghana and Nigeria. East Africa, including Ethiopia and Somalia, is the other main origin.
  • Like African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans and Africans are highly segregated from whites.But these black ethnic groups overlap only partly with one another in the neighborhoods where they live.Segregation among black ethnic groups reflects important social differences between them.
  • In the metropolitan areas where they live in largest numbers, Africans tend to live in neighborhoods with higher median income and education level than African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans.In these metro areas Afro-Caribbeans tend to live in neighborhoods with a higher percent homeowners than either African Americans or Africans.

 

More complete information on the size and residential patterns of these non-Hispanic black groups for every metropolis in 1990 and 2000 is available on the Mumford Center web page:

 

http://www.s4.brown.edu/cen2000/BlackWhite/BlackWhite.htm

 

 

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