America is a very diverse place. According to Wikipedia, there are 7 major races in America. But which state has the most african americans as a percent? We know what you’re thinking: some state in the south.
But the question on the top of your mind must be which one exactly? Based on all the articles we’ve written the last 5 years, we put our money on Alabama.
What’s the state with the largest African American population? Well, according to the most recent Census data, Mississippi is the state with the highest percentage of black Americans.
Close but no cigar on our guess.
Here’s the rest of the top 10 states by percentage of African Americans for 2023.
Well the South certainly dominates this list with Virginia being as far north as you’ll get in the top 10. You’ll also find the most African American city in America in Mississippi – Jackson.
We’re going to talk about the states with the biggest black population and list out some famous black americans that were born there. For exactly how we calculated these rankings, read on. Or, if you’re interested in reading something else, check out:
The 10 Blackest States In America For 2023
Which state is the blackest in America? Yep, Mississippi. In Mississippi, 37.4% of residents are black, which is 2.27% higher than it was 10 years ago. There are nearly 400 times more blacks in Mississippi than there are in the state of Montana.
Jackson Mississippi ranks 2nd in America for percentage of black residents at 80%. The only other city in America with a higher concentration of black americans is Detroit, where the black population makes up 83% of the total population. There are ten cities in Mississippi greater than 5,000 residents that are at least 70% black.
Oprah Winfrey is from Mississippi. So is James Earl Jones. And, Record producer Ray J hails from McComb, Mississippi.
Moving on, we come to the second blackest state in America, which is Louisiana. In Louisiana, 31.7% of residents are black, which is a 5.57% increase in the last ten years. There are now 80,000 more black Americans living in Louisiana than a decade ago.
Monroe suburb Bastrop and Baton Rouge suburb Baker are both small towns, and have the highest concentration of blacks in Louisiana at 80%. New Orleans is 60% black – the 7th highest black population of large cities in the US. New Orleans is considered the birthplace of jazz music. Jambalaya, gumbo and other southern soul foods have their roots in Louisiana, too.
Actor Tyler Perry, news man Bryant Gumbel and NBA great Karl Malone all have Louisiana roots.
Let’s move on to our next blackest state in the US. It’s Georgia. Georgia’s black population is 31.1%, which is almost 1% higher than it was 10 years ago. In terms of actual numbers, there are 3.1 million African Americans in Georgia – second only to the state of Texas, which has 3.8 million black Americans.
Union City, an Atlanta suburb, has the highest black population in Georgia at 86%. Savannah, Georgia is 56% black. Atlanta’s black population continues to move into the suburbs. Ten years ago, Atlanta’s black population was 61%. Now, it’s 54%.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta. He was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his assassination in 1968. As such, Atlanta is home to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Other famous people from Georgia are singer Kanye West, actress Raven Symone, and singer Ray Charles.
Where’s our next blackest state in America? That’s Maryland. The main reason Maryland has a large black population is because of Baltimore. Maryland’s total population is 5.2 million. 29.4% of the population in Maryland is black, and 65% of Baltimore’s 620,000 residents are black. A quarter of all black residents in Maryland are in Baltimore.
Harriet Tubman was born in Dorcester County, Maryland. She was a Civil War Scout, Honorary General, Union Spy, Nurse, and Civil Rights Activist, who helped rescue 70 enslaved people. Civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall, NAACP founder W.E.B. Dubois, and rapper Rye Rye are all also notable people born in the state of Maryland.
Our next blackest state in America is Alabama. In Alabama, 26.3% – or more than 1 in 4 residents is black – which is twice as high as the national average. That’s a 7.33% increase in the last ten years. Tuskegee, a city with 8,500 residents, is 95% black – the highest number of black residents in one city in the state of Alabama. Birmingham is 71% black – and it has the 4th highest black population in America. Nearby Montgomery is 57% black. It has the 9th highest black population in America..
Perhaps the most memorable historical african american event in Alabama took place in Montgomery, Alabama, when in 1955, Rosa Parks stood up against racial segregation by refusing to move to the back of the bus. That led to a Supreme Court ruling that segregated buses were unconstitutional, which led the inspiration to a chain of events that led to President Lyndon Johnson’s Civil Rights Act in 1964, which outlawed racial segregation.
Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, activist Angela Davis, superstar athlete Bo Jackson, and musician Clarence Carter are all from Alabama.
Where is our sixth blackest state in America? South Carolina. In South Carolina, 26.0% of the population is black. That’s a 4.5% from the black population ten years ago, meaning South Carolina is one of only two states on this list to see a decrease in it’s black population as a percentage of the state’s total population.
Famous black Americans from South Carolina include musician Dizzy Gillespie and Dr. Benjamin Mays, known as the father of the modern Civil Rights Movement
Which of American states are has the seventh most black Americans? Delaware. In Delaware, 21.5% of residents are black. The black population in Delaware has increased by 16.2% in the last ten years. Delaware has the 5th lowest population overall of all US states.
Wilmington and Dover are the biggest cities in Delaware, and have the largest black populations. Wilmington’s black population is 57% and Dover’s is 40%. About a third of the total number of blacks in Delaware live in these two cities alone.
Delaware State University in Dover is a historically black university, where there is a higher than average number of black middle class residents. Delaware was the first state to join the Union in 1787. It was also considered a border state, but Delaware didn’t abolish slavery for good until the 13th amendment was passed in 1865. Notable black americans from Delaware include NBA players A.J. English and Stevie Graham, and jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown.
We’re going to move on to our next blackest state in America. It is… North Carolina.
In North Carolina, there are just over ten million people. More than two million are black, giving North Carolina a 20.8% black population. Fayetteville, North Carolina has the largest black population in the state. Fayetteville has 200,000 residents, and 42% are black. Other cities with large populations of black Americans in North Carolina are Kinston, Rocky Mount, and Wilson. Kinston’s black population is 65%.
Durham, North Carolina is home to what is now called Black Wall Street. This was a financial center formed by several prominent black entrepreneurs. Booker T Washington spoke many times about how relaxed the race relations were in Durham at the time. Harriet Jacobs, America’s most famous female slave narrator, was born in Edenton, North Carolina. TV personality and writer Star Jones was born in Baden, North Carolina. Singer/rapper Jermaine Dupri grew up in Asheville.
We’re going to remain in the south as we visit our next blackest state in America, Virginia. Here, the percentage of black Americans is 18.7%. What’s interesting about Virginia is that the black population is decreasing here. Back in 2010, the black population of Virginia was 19.3% , so that means there are 4% less black Americans in Virginia now.
Here in Virginia, Petersburg, Emporia, and Franklin have the largest black populations. Petersburg is 75% black. Virginia Beach is 20% black – and it has the highest number of African Americans in a city in Virginia.
Hampton University is here – it was one of the first black colleges in the US. Brown vs. Board of Education protests first started in Virginia. Those protests led to an end to racial segregation in public schools. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson is from Virginia. He was a dancer best known for his tap dancing with child-star Shirley Temple. Tennis star Arthur Ashe was born here.
In Tennessee, the percentage of Black residents is 16.3%. For comparison, the whitest state in America, Montana, the black population is .2%. There are also only 2,359 Black americans in the entire state of Montana. In Tennessee, there are 1120548 black americans. That means there are 394 times more african americans in Tennessee than there are in Montana.
Here in Tennessee, the large metro areas such as Memphis make up a large percentage of the black population. In Memphis, more than two thirds of the population is black. That’s the tenth highest ratio of black citizens in America. For comparison, in Detroit, the black population is 82%.
Green Bay Packer Reggie White, disco singer Edmund Sylvers and rapper Young Buck are all from Tennessee.
How We Determined The Most African American States 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 2017-2021 American Community Survey for a detailed breakdown of race by state.
Specifically, we looked at table B03002 which has the breakdown of people by Hispanic/latino and race.
We looked at the percentage of the population of each state that identified as non-Hispanic/latino, black. We then ranked each city from 1 to 50 in terms of that percentage with the state having the highest overall percentage being named the “State In America with the Largest African American population” — Mississippi. You can download the data here.
The “least African American” state according to the data? That would be Montana which is only 0.39% African American as of the latest data. Wow.
There You Have It — The States With The Largest Black Populations in the US
Based on recent trends, the South might not continue to dominate this list in the years to come well maybe decades as Northern states continue to attract large swaths of the black population.
But until then, we’ll keep seeing southern states atop the list.
And we’ll guess that Mississippi is still the blackest state for the next several years.
Here’s a quick look at the least African American states on the list:
For more reading, check out:
African American Population By State In The US For 2023