(April 2002) The black population in the United States is becoming more heterogeneous through immigration. Between 1970 and 2000, the share of foreign-born blacks in the overall black population rose nationwide (to 7.8 percent from 1.3 percent) and in all census regions. Among states, the greatest growth was seen in Florida (see figure below).


Note: “Foreign-born” excludes those born abroad to U.S. parents.
Source: Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data (2001 CPS and 1970 Census) by William H. Frey, University of Michigan.


The immigrants come from many different countries in the Caribbean and Africa, with the largest percentages from Haiti (18 percent); Jamaica (15 percent); the Dominican Republic (7 percent); Trinidad & Tobago (4 percent); and Ghana, Guyana, other Caribbean countries, and Nigeria (roughly 3 percent each).

These population changes suggest that black Americans, like Hispanics, are a diverse group increasingly identifying more by culture and nationality than by skin color (see Darryl Fears, “A Diverse — and Divided — Black Community,” Washington Post, Feb. 24, 2002).