Every year in February, the United States commemorates the achievements of black Americans.
In 2013, there were more than 38 million black Americans, a 74 percent increase since 1970. The population is expected to grow to more than 55 million by 2060, according to the Pew Research Center.
In honor of Black History Month, Pew has put together the following facts:
1) High school dropout rates have declined faster among blacks ages 18 to 24 than the national average.
The rate has dropped from 24 percent in 1976 to 8 percent in 2013, according to Pew.
Meanwhile, the percentage of blacks graduating from college rose faster than the national average.The share of those 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree has increased from 7 percent in 1976 to 22 percent in 2013.
The national average rose from 15 percent to 32 percent over the same time period.
2) The black voter turnout rate exceeded that of whites–66.6 percent to 64.1 percent–in the last presidential election for the first time ever.
In 2004, which was the last presidential election without Barack Obama on the ballot, the white voter turnout rate surpassed that of black by 67.2 percent to 60 percent. According to Pew, the turnout gap between whites and blacks has been closing over time.
3) About 6 million blacks left the South between 1910 and 1970 to move to other parts of the country in what has become known as the Great Migration.
However, the trend has reversed since then, partly due to the decline of industrial jobs in the north, according to the Brookings Institution.
The black population increased by about 10 million in the South from 1970 to 2010, and just 6 million in the rest of the country.Today, more than half of the country’s black population–57 percent–lives in the South. That’s up from 52 percent to 1970.
According to Pew, blacks are the largest nonwhite racial or ethnic group in 13 southern states and the District of Columbia. In those states, the black population is at least twice that of Hispanics.
4) The poverty rate among blacks is the highest of any racial or ethnic group, but has declined slightly over time.
The black poverty rate declined from 31.3 percent in 1976 to 27.2 percent in 2014, according to census data.
Meanwhile, the overall U.S. poverty rate has increased from 12.3 percent in 1976 to 14.9 percent in 2014. In addition, blacks fare worse than other groups when it comes to wealth. In 2013, the median wealth of white households was $141,900, 13 times the median wealth of black households at $11,000.
That’s the widest gap since 1989, according to a Pew Research analysis of Federal Reserve survey data.
5) President Obama is the most important black leader.
In 2011, two-thirds of black people said Obama was the most important black leader in the United States, according to a Washington Post poll.
About 7 percent named Martin Luther King Jr., and 16 percent offered no opinion. Jesse Jackson was the top choice in previous decades, according to various surveys.
6) Blacks are more likely than whites to say a lot needs to be done to achieve racial equality in the U.S.
In a 2013 Pew Research survey, 79 percent of blacks and 44 percent of whites said a lot needs to be done to achieve racial equality in the United States. Eight percent of blacks and 17 percent of white said a little or nothing needs to be done.