In 2011 Texas had a Black population of 3,138,725 making the 3rd largest African American population in the United states after New York and Florida. A large majority of the Texas African American population (about 65%) lives in the Houston and in the Dallas Fort Worth metropolitan areas. Austin, San Antonio, and Beaumont have smaller but still significant Black populations. Most of the remainder of Black Texans live in the smaller cities, towns, and rural areas of East and Southeast Texas. There are also small Black populations in the cities and towns of West Texas and the Texas Panhandle such as Amarillo, Odessa, and El Paso. During the 1990s and 2000s Texas has been one of the top states for African Americans to relocate and most of that growth has been in Dallas and Houston.
Though small at first there has been a Black presence in Texas since the late 1700s when they accompanied Spanish pioneers. The number of African Americans increased when Texas won its independence from Mexico and later joined the United States as a slave state. Between 1840 and 1860 the Black slave population grew from 11,000 to about 182,000 encompassing approximately 30% of the states population and lived mainly in the fertile rural areas of East and Southeast Texas.
The Black population continued to grow after emancipation as many Blacks from other former slave states established “Freedom Towns” throughout the state. Freedom Towns were all Black towns with their own economies much like the other towns of the old west popularized by Hollywood western movies and stories. The majority of these Black towns were eventually annexed and/or dissolved by growing White populations. A few remnants of these towns still exist such as Independence Heights in Houston and Bear Creek in Irving. Between 1900 and 1940 the Black population of Texas grew from 600,000 to 900,000. As the entire Texas population continued to grow White and Hispanic growth began to outpace that of African Americans and although the Black population grew to more than 2 million in 1990 it was only 12% of the states population. Today the Hispanic population continues to outpace Blacks and Whites in growth.
Texas Detailed African American Population Profile
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