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Black or African American Populations


Black or African American Populations

African Americans have a long history in the United States. Some African American families have been in the United States for many generations; others are recent immigrants from places such as Africa, the Caribbean, or the West Indies.

Blacks or African Americans are people having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. The Black or African American population includes people who marked their race(s) as “Black, African Am., or Negro” or reported entries such as African American; Sub-Saharan African (e.g., Kenyan and Nigerian); or Afro-Caribbean such as Haitian and Jamaican according to the US Census Bureau.

Starting in 1997, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires federal agencies to use a minimum of five race categories:

  • White;
  • Black or African American;
  • American Indian or Alaska Native;
  • Asian; and
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.

The OMB defines Hispanic or Latino as “a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.”

In data collection and presentation, federal agencies are required to use a minimum of two ethnicities: “Hispanic or Latino” and "Not Hispanic or Latino".

In addition, on October 31, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published final standards for data collection on race, ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status, as required by Section 4302 of the Affordable Care Act.

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