In this report, we analyzed the detailed demographics and geographic distribution of Black people in the United States. The term “Black” refers to all people who self-identify as Black or African American on census surveys. This report’s analysis is based on Pew Research Center tabulations derived from the following U.S. Census Bureau data: the American Community Survey (2006-2019) and the 2000 U.S. decennial census.

Detailed demographic and geographic data

Analysis of the detailed demographic and geographic distribution of the Black population in 2019 is based on data from the American Community Survey (ACS), the largest household survey in the United States, with a sample of more than 3 million addresses. It covers the topics previously covered in the long form of the decennial census. The ACS is designed to provide estimates of the size and characteristics of the nation’s resident population, which includes persons living in households and group quarters. For details about the ACS, including its sampling strategy and associated error, see the yearly ACS Accuracy Statement provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

This report employs public use samples of the U.S. population in the 50 states and Washington D.C. – 1% samples from the 2019, 2015, 2010 and 2006 ACS and samples of the following censuses, all provided through Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) from the University of Minnesota:

1900 census (5% sample)
1910 census (1% sample)
1920 census (1% sample)
1930 census (5% sample)
1940 census (1% sample)
1950 census (1% sample)
1960 census (5% sample)
1970 census, form 2 (1% sample)
1980 census (5% sample)
1990 census (5% sample)
2000 census (5% sample)

IPUMS assigns uniform codes, to the extent possible, to data collected by the decennial census and the ACS from 1850 to 2019. For more information about IPUMS, including variable definition and sampling error, please visit the “IPUMS Documentation and User Guide.”