Louisiana Black Population

Louisiana Black Population

According to 2020 census data, the Black/African American alone population in Louisiana was around 1,464,023, which accounts for approximately 31% of the state’s total or 1,543,119 (Black in combination with one or more races) 33% of the states population.

State DataBlack AloneTotal State
Total population (ACS estimate)1,441,6454,624,047
Median household income$33,576$52,087
Bachelor’s degree or higher16.5%26.4%
Family poverty rate27.5%15.2%
Percentage households Married-couple families24.4%42.4%
Homeowner rate48.7%67.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2021 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates


Between 1990 and 2020, the Black population in Louisiana experienced moderate growth, increasing from approximately 1.3 million to over 1.4 million. This growth has been driven by both natural increase and in-migration from other states. As the African American population continues to grow, it has contributed to the political, economic, and cultural landscape of Louisiana.

A substantial proportion of Louisiana’s African American population resides in the New Orleans metropolitan area, Baton Rouge, and Shreveport. Other urban areas, such as Lafayette and Lake Charles, also host significant Black populations. Additionally, there are numerous Black residents living in smaller cities, towns, and rural areas across the state.

During the Great Migration, many African Americans left Louisiana for the industrial North in search of better opportunities. However, the state’s Black population still experienced growth during this time, due in part to the rich cultural heritage and strong community ties within the state.


Historically, Black people in Louisiana were employed in various industries, including agriculture, forestry, fishing, and oil and gas production. Over time, the African American workforce diversified, finding employment in fields such as education, healthcare, and government.

In the present day, African Americans in Louisiana work across a range of industries, including technology, healthcare, education, finance, and entertainment. There has been a noticeable increase in Black entrepreneurship, with many small businesses owned and operated by African Americans contributing significantly to Louisiana’s economy.


The presence of African Americans in Louisiana dates back to the early 1700s when the region was a French colony. At the time, the Black population was mainly composed of enslaved Africans who were brought to the area to work on plantations. By the end of the 18th century, the Black population in Louisiana had grown significantly, with enslaved people comprising a substantial portion of the state’s total population.

Following the Civil War and the subsequent emancipation of enslaved people, Louisiana’s Black population continued to grow. Many African Americans remained in the state to work as sharecroppers or tenant farmers. During the Great Migration in the early 20th century, a large number of Black residents left Louisiana in search of better opportunities in the industrial North.

As the African American population in Louisiana has grown and diversified, it has contributed significantly to the state’s political, economic, and cultural landscape. African American leaders and activists have made substantial strides in local and state politics, while the state’s entertainment, music, and arts scenes have been heavily influenced by the contributions of Black artists and creatives.

Louisiana has been home to influential Black figures such as Louis Armstrong, the legendary jazz musician, and Mahalia Jackson, the renowned gospel singer. Additionally, cities like New Orleans and Baton Rouge have emerged as major centers for Black entrepreneurship, entertainment, and arts, with thriving creative scenes that have produced influential artists and contributed to the development of various genres, such as jazz, blues, and hip-hop.

Creole Population

The Louisiana Creoles are an ethnic group primarily found in Louisiana, with roots that trace back to the colonial period when Louisiana was a French and Spanish colony. The term “Creole” has evolved over time and its meaning can vary depending on the context in which it is used. However, it generally refers to people of mixed African, European, and Native American ancestry who were born in Louisiana.

The Creoles have had a significant impact on Louisiana’s history, culture, and identity. Their influence can be seen in various aspects of the state’s culture, including language, cuisine, music, and architecture.

Creole History

Creole history in Louisiana began with the arrival of French and Spanish settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries. As the European population grew and intermingled with African and Native American populations, a unique Creole culture began to develop. The complex social structure in colonial Louisiana led to the emergence of various Creole subgroups, including gens de couleur libres (free people of color) who enjoyed certain rights and privileges despite widespread racial discrimination.

During the antebellum period, Creoles played an important role in Louisiana’s economy and society. Creole planters owned large plantations and were involved in the lucrative sugar and cotton industries. Free people of color often worked as artisans, merchants, and skilled laborers, while some even owned property and slaves themselves.

The social and political landscape changed dramatically after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Civil War. Creoles faced increasing racial discrimination as the American South adopted more rigid racial hierarchies. The introduction of the “one-drop rule” and segregation laws further marginalized Creole communities, leading to a decline in Creole language and culture. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in Creole history and culture.

Metropolitan AreaBlack Population
New Orleans, LA441,391
Shreveport 173,216
Lake Charles49,309
Houma-Thibodaux, LA34,618

Get the Complete Louisiana African American Population Report