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Census 2000: What’s At Stake for the African American Community

The African American population grew by 13 percent between 1980 and 1990, to make up about 12 percent of America's population. While the majority of the growth was due to birth rates, immigration from Caribbean and African countries also contributed significantly. In 1990, the African American population was at least 1 million strong in 16 states.

In 1990, at least 95 percent of all African Americans in the Northeast, Midwest and West regions lived in metropolitan areas, whereas in the South, 72 percent of African Americans lived in metropolitan areas. Also, about 40 percent of the African American population resided in 10 major cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston and Baltimore. All of these cities were among the top 10 most undercounted cities in the nation.

In 1990, more than half of those undercounted were children. In 1990, about one-third of the African American population was under 18 years of age. Therefore, an accurate count of children will be critical to the African American community in 2000.

African Americans will be unfairly impacted if the 2000 Census is inaccurate. Census data is used by educators, policy makers, and community leaders and directly affect funding for many programs critical to African Americans.

Accurate Census Information is Critical to a Number of Initiatives:

  • To enforce provisions under the Civil Rights Act prohibiting discrimination based upon race, sex, religion, and national origin.
  • To distribute funds for Child Care and Development Block Grants and Head Start programs, which serve the health and education-related needs of infants, children and families, many of whom are low-income.
  • To fund the Adult Education Act designed to improve educational skills, complete secondary schooling, and provide job training and placement for adults.
  • To monitor and enforce provisions under the Voting Rights Act.
  • To allocate Title I funds to states and counties to improve the education of economically disadvantaged children.

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U.S. Census Monitoring Board
Presidential Members
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Phone: (301) 457-9900
Fax: (301) 457-9901