As the nation prepares to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington over the next week, it’s worth asking: how much have things changed for African Americans since Aug. 28, 1963?

The U.S. Census Bureau has compiled a slew of statistics that tell at least part of the story. In many ways African Americans are participating more fully in the nation’s civic life, but in many sectors they are still lagging behind their white counterparts.

One place where African Americans have outpaced their white counterparts is when it comes to participation in election. In 1964 the portion of all Americans 18 or older who voted was 69.3 percent; this has dropped to 56.5 percent last year. By contrast, the rate of African Americans voting in presidential elections has risen from 58.5 percent to 62 percent during that same period. The 2012 election marked the first time African Americans voted at a higher rate than whites, according to Census data.

The number of African-American elected officials has also risen dramatically since researchers started tracking it in 1970. Forty-three years ago there were 1,469 black elected officials nationwide, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; in 2011 there were roughly 10,500 such officials.

In education, blacks have also made tremendous strides. In 1964, 25.7 percent of blacks age 25 and over had completed at least four years of high school; that percentage stood at 85 percent last year. During that same period the number of blacks with a high school diploma rose from 2.4 million to 20.3 million. Between 1964 and 2012 the percentage of blacks age 25 and over who completed at least four years of college increased from 3.9 percent to 21.2 percent, with the number of blacks boasting at least a bachelor’s degree rising from 365,000 to 5.1 million.

And the poverty rate among African Americans has also dropped dramatically over the past five decades. Back in 1966 the poverty rate for all races in the United States was 14.7 percent, but it was 41.8 percent for African Americans. Two years ago the poverty rate for African Americans was 27.6 percent, according to the Census, but that was still nearly double the national poverty rate of 15 percent.
In another warning sign, the homeownership rate for blacks has barely budged in decades. It stood at 41.6 percent in 1970, the first year those numbers were collected, and measured 43.4 percent in 2011.


  • Playboy69

    Homeowners equals substantial power in America to build better communities for the Black Youth. Black people in America are going in the right direction tho…. No matter what Bill O’Reilly thinks….LOL!

    • BullnBearHP

      True… The more education… the less knucklehead activity…greater progress…

      • Playboy69


    • presto 2.5

      @PlayBoy??…is that you??…lol

  • Now Thats Pcp

    Agreed, the Day is coming

    • presto 2.5

      I don’t think it will ever come…

      its not a race war like they portray….its a CLASS WAR…

      and the poor will have their own land one day…but it wont be as you think…it will be worse

      jus my 2…

      • Now Thats Pcp

        You don’t need a war to accomplish this, but u need economics in order n blacks working as a collective unit. We all can back to Africa where there’s warm weather, diamonds,gold, oil , farms, n plenty of natural resources…..but the best thing is they have cheap land n We can build our way up

  • Moor#BpCoffins

    At the end of the day, a very determined person is hard to stop. We got a lot more to worry about these days. It still shouldn’t stop you from living no matter how the TV portrays you. I ignore that shit and if most ppl did it too, the TV would go away. No long drawn out paragraphs; you know wtf you gotta do, now do it and you will receive everything you want no matter your race.

    • presto 2.5

      goodshyt @MoorFeen…

      fuqs going on up in here?…all these idiots are suddenly speaking with some sense?…lol

      • 1luv

        @Moor, I think that is the smartest message I ever read on your post. At this day and age, you have to make the best out of your life just to stay above water. TV and what society wants you to buy into is the last damn thing. Focus on your goals and try to reach them without being distracted.

        • Moor#BpCoffins

          Peace y’all. Had to keep it short & sweet but @1luv I know I say a lot of ignorant ish but on social issues like this I go to work. I’ve made far more profound messages on this forum then that lil piece.