National African American (Black) History Month: February 2021


To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week (then called “Negro History Week”) nearly a century ago. The event was first celebrated during the second week of February 1926, selected because it coincides with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist/writer Frederick Douglass (February 14). That week would continue to be set aside for the event until 1976 when, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, it was expanded to a month. Since then, U.S. presidents have proclaimed February as National African American History Month.

The following facts are made possible by the invaluable responses to the U.S. Census Bureau’s surveys. We appreciate the public’s cooperation as we continuously measure America’s people, places and economy.

Note: References to the Black population in this publication are to single-race Black people (“Black alone”) unless otherwise noted.

Did You Know?

48.2 million

The Black population, either alone or in combination with one or more races, in the United States in 2019.


The percentage of African Americans age 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher in 2019. 


The percentage of the employed Black population age 16 and older working in management, business, science and arts occupations in 2019.

Source: 2019 American Community Survey
(Source includes more on occupations, commuting and industries.)


The number of Black-owned employer businesses in the United States in 2017.

Source:  2018 Annual Business Survey, data year 2017

2.1 million

The number of Black military veterans in the United States nationwide in 2019. 

Source: 2019 American Community Survey


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