What city would you guess has the largest African American population?
For us, we immediately figured it’d have to be somewhere in the South — while it’s trending away from it, the majority of the African American population in America lives in the south.
And we figured it HAS to be a BIG city right? Seems like that would have a better chance than a smaller city of being more diverse.
Well take a second for you to guess.
Ok cool, well, we were half right — it’s in the South but not all that big.
The city with the largest percentage of African Americans? Jackson, MS.
Our intuition served us pretty well with one big old glaring exception at the top — Detroit.
Detroit has been a predominately African American city for years. It’s an economic hub in the Midwest for African Americans.
Read on to see how we calculated the most African American cities in America based on the most recent Census data.
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How We Determined The Most African American Large Cities in The US
When we analyze what it’s like to live in a certain place, we simply look at statistics. In particular, we can look to the recently released 2012-2016 American Community Survey for a detailed breakdown of race by city.
Specifically, we looked at table B03002 which has the breakdown of people by Hispanic/latino and race.
Limiting our analysis to only cities greater than 100,000 people, we looked at the percentage of the population of each city that identified as non-Hispanic/latino, black.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 273 in terms of that percentage with the city having the highest overall percentage being named the “City In America with the Largest African American population” — Jackson, MS.
The “least African American” city according to the data? That would be Brownsville, TX which is only 0.21% African American as of the latest data.
Here’s a look at the top ten.
1. Jackson, MS
Jackson takes the top spot for being the city with the largest African American population in America for 2018.
It’s the only city to be greater than 80% black as of the latest census data.
Additionally, it has becoming more African American over the course of the decade.
2. Detroit, MI
The only city north of the Mason-Dixon line to make the top ten is Detroit. It’s about 79% black which is actually down from 82.4% in 2010.
It’s the largest city in the top 25 by a wide margin clocking in at over 750,000 people.
In what would have been our guess for the most African American city, Birmingham finds itself 3rd on the list for 2018.
It’s a pretty big drop off from Detroit in terms of percentage of the population that is black — ‘only’ 72% of the folks here are African American.
Our only Florida spotting on the list, Miami Gardens ranks as the 4th most African American with close to 70% of residents being black.
In addition to a large African American population, there is also a sizable cuban population in Miami Gardens.
5. Memphis, TN
The 5th ranked city in terms of African American population is Memphis.
Memphis as the 2nd largest African American absolute population in the country behind Detroit — over 400,000 people as of the last census count.
Baltimore, with 64% of the folks who live there identifying as African America, ranks 6th for 2018.
Since 2010, the African American population has decreased by a count of 9,512.
New Orleans has an interesting quirk — the percentage of the population that is African American has decreased since 2010, but there are not over 51,000 more African Americans living there in that time span.
All that means is that people of every race are down to live in New Orleans and the black population has, just barely, not grown as fast.
Surprising to almost no one, the first repeat state on the list goes to Alabama with Montgomery coming in as the 8th most African American big city in America.
Montgomery is only 00.02% less African American than New Orleans, the closest gap of any cities in the top ten.
Not to be out done by Alabama, Louisiana offers up another city in the top ten — Shreveport.
We honestly hadn’t heard of Shreveport before, but it’s one of the biggest in Louisiana and the 128th largest in the country. So now we know.
Rounding out the blacks cities in the US is Augusta, GA.
Surprised? Only if you were expecting to see Atlanta instead — we figured Georgia would have a city in the top ten somewhere.
There You Have It — The Most African American Big Cities in America
Based on recent trends, the South might not continue to dominate this list in the years to come — well maybe decades — as some more Northern and Western cities continue to attract large swaths of the black population.
But until then, we’ll keep seeing southern cities atop the list.
And for those playing at home, here’s a look at the least African American cities in America:
- East Los Angeles
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