African Americans, Afro Americans, or Black Americans, are residents in this country whose ancestry lies firmly or partially in the Sub-Saharan black slaves that we brought to America. They are the second largest ethnic and racial minority in this country. The majority descend directly from Central and West African communities and can trace their lineage back directly to these slaves. Some have come from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean as well, although their ancestry is obviously also in slavery. A very small minority of blacks in this country has emigrated directly from Africa. While a huge population group, they continue to be seen – and treated as – a minority. It is important to get a true picture of African Americans and their role in our culture, in order to break through race inequality. Some people are doing this very publicly, such as Ursula Burns Xerox CEO and Charles Phillips Infor CEO, but most will struggle to ever get to those ranks. Let’s take a look at some important statistics on black American communities.
African American Statistics
In 2000, there were 36,400,000 African Americans in this country, and 12 million African American households. By region, the concentration of African Americans is:
- 54.8% in the South, which means they are not a minority at all there.
- 18.8% in the Midwest.
- 17.6% in the Northeast.
- 8.9% in the west.
14 million African Americans live in neighborhoods that are suburban.
In terms of education, the racial disparity starts to become more evident. While 77.6% finish high school, only 14.6% achieve a bachelor’s degree and 4.3% achieve an advanced degree. Financial statistics further highlight this disparity:
- Their average income is $32,436.
- Their annual spending power, combined, is $1.2 trillion.
- Only 27.4% earn more than $50,000 per year.
- 23.5% live in poverty.
The statistics for business are equally interesting. It seems that, overall, not many African Americans own businesses, or take up positions of true leadership. But when they do, they make a huge difference. There are just three CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who are African American. Some 800,000 businesses are owned by African Americans and their revenue is $71.2 trillion per year. Interestingly, 71% of African Americans want to keep up to date with new technology, and many of the black business leaders are involved in tech-related fields.
African Americans, like other Americans, have five main areas of expenditure, being housing, food, cars, clothing, and health care.
Unfortunately, it seems that many African Americans have lost faith in politics, this despite being led by an African American president. Only 59.6% of African Americans have registered to vote. It is not clear why this is, particularly after the hard work completed by Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968. Perhaps more worrying is that, of those who were registered to vote, less than half (49.5%) actually voted. This means that, overall, only around a quarter of all those who are legally allowed to vote do so.
Lastly, there is healthcare. African Americans account for 47% of all HIV/AIDS cases, and 49% of black people use employer sponsored health insurance. Meanwhile. 39.1% of those over the age of 18 are classed as obese, and this number is growing.