African Americans in Wisconsin - Overview

"African American" or "black" refers to people having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa1. In this report the terms "African American" and "black" are used interchangeably. African Americans and other black residents of Wisconsin are a heterogeneous population, including African and Caribbean immigrants and residents. These diverse groups have varying levels of health status related to differences in economic, educational, geographic, social and cultural factors.

In July 2012, 43.1 million people in the United States were Black2. They are the second largest minority population, following the Hispanic/Latino population3. In 2012, 83 percent of African Americans 25 years and over had earned at least a high school diploma, compared to 92 percent of the White population4. More Black women than Black men had earned at least a bachelor's degree (20.7 percent compared with 16.4 percent), while among non-Hispanic Whites, a higher proportion of men than women had earned at least a bachelor's degree (33 percent and 32 percent, respectively)5. In 2012, the death rate for African Americans in the US was higher than Whites for heart diseases, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and homicide6

Wisconsin Population 7

Wisconsin's African American population totaled 348,308 in 2008, which was 6.1% of the State total of 5,672,297. The African American population has increased 9.7% since the 2000 Census. Milwaukee County is home to 240,203 African Americans, comprising 69.4% of Wisconsin's African American population. This group is the largest racial minority group in Wisconsin.

Nearly 90% of Wisconsin's African American population lives in the following six counties, all of which are located in Southeastern or Southern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Dane, Racine, Kenosha, Rock, and Waukesha. When looking at African Americans as a percent of the total county population Milwaukee County tops this list, with 25.6%.

Wisconsin's African American population is relatively young, with a median age of 28.4 years in 2008, compared to 38.2 years for the total State population (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey.) Thirty-five percent of African Americans were under age 18, compared to 23 percent of the State population. Also, while 13% of Wisconsin's population was age 65+, only 6% of the African American population was 65 or older.


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Additional Information

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  1. Minority Health Report, 2001-2005
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Minority Health Profile, created by the Minority Health Program

Additional Information About African Americans in Wisconsin

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Last Revised: October 23, 2015