Regional Distribution of the Black Population
More than half (56%) of the African American population lives in the South, up from 53% in 1990. Although the Black Population has increased in all US regions since 1990, the South has had the most growth. The share of the Black population in the Northeast and Midwest has decreased from 19% in 1990 to 17% in 2019 for both regions.
NOTE: Alaska and Hawaii are located in the West Region
NOTE: Also data for regional population comes from a different Census estimate than total numbers published on the ‘Home’ and ‘Population’ pages of the website.
In 1910, 89% of all African Americans still lived in the South, and 80% of them in rural areas. In the years that followed world cotton prices plummeted, large farming areas became infested with boll weevil, and severe floods consumed the Mississippi Valley. World war I brought a major labor shortage to the industrial North’s urban areas. The First Great Migration brought some some 1.5 million African Americans north and west between 1916 and 1930 By 1960, 40% of all blacks lived outside the South, while 75% of all blacks lived in cities. The second Great Black Migration occurred between 1940 and 1970. This brought 5 million Black Southerners North and West. By 1970, 47 percent of the nation’s African Americans lived outside the South, and more than 80 percent were in urban areas.