THE LIVES OF BLACKS IN TEXAS: Demographic Trends in the African American Population,

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1 POLICY BRIEF: THE LIVES OF BLACKS IN TEXAS: Demographic Trends in the African American Population, November 1, 2012 Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD, Research Associate Jemel P. Aguilar, PhD, Research Associate Jennifer Alexander, Graduate Research Assistant Chunhui Ren, Postdoctoral Fellow INTRODUCTION The African American population of Texas has undergone significant changes over the past several decades. Considering these demographic changes through a racial lens can help inform future Texas governmental policies. The African American population is defined as those who identified as African American or Black only, and because of imprecision in census definitions excludes bi- and multi-racial people. A detailed analysis of the population is worthwhile for insight into current and future economic and social pressures on African Americans in Texas. To analyze and present this information, census data were collected for all census years from 1950 to 2010, and from American Community Surveys (ACS) since Both state and county populations were compared between years. For additional specific data types, comparisons and analyses were done which brought to light areas of focus for research, again using U.S. Census and ACS data. 01

2 TOTAL POPULATION In 1950, the African American population was 977,458, or 12.6% of the total Texas population, 7,711,194. By 2010, the African American population of Texas grew to 2,979,598 residents, or 11.8% of Texas total population. From 1950, the total African American population increased almost 205 percent through 2010, with the sharpest increase (23.9%) in population from 2000 to This was slightly higher than the population growth for the state as a whole, which grew 20.5 percent from 2000 to Figure 1: African American population in Texas 1950 to X African American Population Figure 2: African American population in relation to total population in Texas 1950 to Millions African American Total Population 02

3 CENSUS DATA FOR ALL RACIAL AND ETHNIC GROUPS In order to contextualize the Black or African American population in Texas, below is a chart of populations for all ethnic or racial groups, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Statistics from 1950 through 2010 were used to create the chart. Hispanic population definitions have changed during this period, and the data have only been collected consistently since Asian only and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander were both designations for the 2000 and 2010 Censuses, but prior to those years, the designation was the combined Asian or Pacific Islander. Figure 3: Populations of different ethnic and racial groups in Texas, x White Black/African American Asian and Pacific Islander Am. Indian/Alaska Native Some other Race Hispanic (Any Race)

4 GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN TEXAS African Americans were historically concentrated in the eastern half of the state, though the overall trend of movement over the past 60 years has been to Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. (See figures 4 and 5). Between 1950 and 2010, the percent change has been largely in scattered areas across the state, in both increases and reductions in population. The largest losses in population were in Lamar (7373) and Harrison Counties (10,319), between 1950 and The largest increase was in Harris County, followed by Dallas, Tarrant, and Fort Bend Counties. Table 1, below, includes these numbers. Figure 4: Black or African American population, 1950 in Texas Population, to to to to to to to to to to

5 The largest percent losses were in Borden and King County, both at 100%, though actual numbers lost were very low (24 in Borden and 62 in King). The largest percentage gain was in La Salle County, which grew by over 400 times its 1950 population. Other counties which grew significantly (at over 50 times, though by noticeably different amounts) include Delta, Montague, Moore, Oldham, and Randall. Figure 5: Black or African American population, 2010 in Texas Population, to to to to to to to to to to

6 Overall, however, the total African American population grew at a smaller rate than the entire population (226%), which indicates a comparative loss of African American population in Texas. Additionally, as with the general population, the African American population urbanized during the In 1950, the most populated county was Harris, followed by Dallas, but the remaining population was distributed primarily through east Texas. In 2000, Harris, Fort Bend, Dallas, and Tarrant Counties were the counties most populated by African Americans, and more rural areas were less populated than during the mid-20th Century. Table 1: Population growth in largest counties in Texas between 1950 and 2010 County Population Increase Harris 626,206 Dallas 445,278 Tarrant 229,309 Fort Bend 118,298 Total 1,419,091 According to Reid, 1974, and census data, Black urban populations grew greatly between 1960 and 1970, with the largest cities (500,000+) having the largest growth rate (32.8%), followed by cities from 250,000 to 500,000 (23.7%). This could explain much of the in-migration to Texas population centers from 1950 to Primary reasons for migration to large metropolitan areas included mechanization of agricultural work and subsequent reduction of rural employment, and a general trend of increased employment opportunities in urban areas. Ft. Bend County experienced an unusually large growth rate (4000%+) of its African American population between 2000 and This county is adjacent to Harris County (Houston). The growth rate, well above that of the urbanization migration of the 1960s is a point worthy of further investigation and research. Figures 4 and 5 illustrate these population movements. Table 2: Largest increase in population by counties, County La Salle Delta Montague Moore Oldham Randall Population Growth in Numbers 15 to to to 53 6 to to to

7 AGE DISTRIBUTION In general, the African American population has increased in all age categories from 2000 to African Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 had a 67 percent increase, the largest percentage increase of any age category from 2000 to This would suggest an aging population, but teens and young adults in the age category of 15 to 24 have the highest number of people at 479,899 people. Figure 6: African American population in Texas by Age, X under 5 5 to to to to to to to

8 FAMILY STATUS In 2010, there were several different forms of family structures in the population. The largest proportion of the population was in married-couple families (32%), and the second largest was householders living alone (31%). The third largest population was female householders (with children) with no husband present (27%). This was followed by male householders (with children) with no wife present (6%) and householders not living alone (4%). See figure 8 for more information. Figure 7: Types of African American households in % 31% 32% 27% 6% Married-couple family Male householder, no wife present Female householder, no husband present Householder living alone Householder not living alone 08

9 POPULATION DISTRIBUTION BY GENDER As with the overall population, the African American rurally. (See Figures 8 and 9 for details.) The population female population in 1950 and in 2000 was and is ratio of females to males remained close to the same concentrated in the eastern half of the state, with a throughout the period 1950 to It has changed, movement trend toward counties where large metro- but by less than 1%, from 51.2% female and 48.8% politan areas are located. For the most part, Of the 24% of African Americans below the movement of wom- poverty level, single mothers make up 65%. en was similar to that male in 1950, to 51.8% female and 48.2% male in Noteworthy also is the high percentage of people in of the population as a whole. The female population poverty who are African American women, especial- over 55 resides primarily in the larger population ly single parents. Of the 24% of African Americans counties (Harris and Dallas), and along the Inter- below poverty level, single mothers make up 65%. state-35 corridor. Though concentrated in the larger This issue provides a compelling opportunity for counties, some of the female population do still live further investigation. Figure 8: Black/African American women in Texas by county, 1950 Figure 9: Black/African American women in Texas by county, 2010 Population of Women Population of Women 0 to to to to to to to to to to

10 EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT Educational attainment for the African American population, 25 years and older, is represented in Figure 9 while the educational attainment for the entire Texas population is represented in Figure 10. The largest proportion of the African American population has some college or associate s degree (34%), followed by high school graduates, GED, or alternative (31%). The third largest group at 19% has a bachelor s degree or higher, followed by 16% with less than a high school diploma. In the category of some college or associate s degree, African Americans are 6 percentage points higher than the general population. In addition, in the category of high school graduate, GED, or alternative, African Americans are 5 percentage points higher than the general population. However, in the category of bachelor s degree or higher, African Americans are 7 percentage points lower than the general population of Texas. Figure 10: Educational Attainment for African American population, 25 years and older in 2010 Figure 11: Educational Attainment for total population in Texas, 25 years and older in % 16% 26% 20% 34% 31% 28% 26% Less than high school diploma High school graduate, GED, or alternative Some college or associate s degree Bachelor s dgree or higher Less than high school diploma High school graduate, GED, or alternative Some college or associate s degree Bachelor s dgree or higher 10

11 ISSUES RELATED TO AFRICAN AMERICAN POPULATION COUNTS Several issues directly related to the African American and other minority populations are worth noting. Over the years between 1950 and 2010, the methods of counting people by race or ethnicity have changed. Although these changes were made to be more inclusive, as they accounted for bi- and multi-racial people, the end result is that many people who consider themselves African American or Black may not be counted as such. Consequently the size of the African American population may be diluted, and interpreted as smaller than it actually is. Additionally, it can be more difficult for people to navigate the census forms to determine their race according to the new forms. As a result, actual numbers of African Americans may again be diluted. This has been a problem in many past censuses, and has continued to evolve as a problem because U.S. Census forms have continued to change with regard to race classifications. (Williams & Jackson, 2000; Persons, Smith, & Miller, 2001; Nguyen, 2004). In addition, the question of how to count and to classify Black members of other nationalities (e.g. African immigrants) continues to be a difficult one for those analyzing census data, especially in the context of race and ethnicity. Concluding Thoughts It is apparent that there is valuable information provided and to be learned through analyzing the demography of African Americans in Texas. There also are many noteworthy issues related to the African American population in Texas, several of which are worthy of further investigation. Some questions coming from this brief include Why African Americans are entering college, but not always graduating from college? What is the economic and social impact of approximately two-thirds of African Americans living as single householders? What is the impact of the increasing African American population in Texas, accompanied by its reduction in percent of the population? Further research would provide insight into other aspects of populations of color of Texas and other states. The next brief in The Lives of Blacks in Texas series will include Income, Wealth, and Poverty [of African Americans in Texas]. 11

12 REFERENCES Nguyen, P. (2004). Some Notes on Biased Statistics and African Americans. Journal of Black Studies, 34(4), doi: / Persons, G. A., Smith, R. C., & Miller, C. M. (2001). The Politics of the Black nation : A Twenty-five Year Retrospective. Transaction Publishers. Reid, J. D. (1974). Black Urbanization of the South. Phylon (1960-), 35(3), doi: / Williams, D. R., & Jackson, J. S. (2000). Race/ethnicity and the 2000 census: recommendations for African American and other black populations in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 90(11),

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