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The month of February is dedicated to the commemoration and celebration of the important contributions African Americans have brought to the United States. American historian Carter G. Woodsen introduced Black History Week on Feb 12, 1926, which was continually celebrated every second week of February, coinciding with the birth dates of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
The United States expanded the week to a month as part of the nation’s bicentennial, and February remains National African-American History Month to this day. In recognition of this month, the U.S. Census Bureau has released the following 2016 statistics about the African American population in their recent Facts for Feature press release.
Census Bureau Statistics:
- The black population in the United states, either alone or in combination with one or more races, is 46.8 million.
- There are 2.1 million black military veterans in the United States nationwide.
- The percentage of the black population, ages 16 and older, working in management, business, science and arts occupations is 29 percent.
- There were 113,643 black-owned employer firm businesses in the United States in 2015.
- African American women comprised 25.4 percent of the population age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher, while African American men comprise 22.1 percent.
- African American voters comprise 55.9 percent of people voting in the United States.
- The number of African American college students was 2.9 million in 2016, an increase from 306,000 in 1964.
The African American population has made a significant impact in the nation we live in today through their social, political and cultural contributions. It is important to recognize and leverage the unique strengths and skills African Americans, and other diverse groups, bring to the economy as business owners, entrepreneurs, innovators and executive leaders. African American women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs; the number of businesses owned by this group grew an astounding 322 percent in the last 20 years.
This February, let’s not only remember the past, but also create opportunities for all Americans to continue shaping our diverse nation. NAWRB wishes our community a happy National African-American History Month!