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Tanya Hall
Indiana Business Research Center

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2010

IU's Indiana Business Research Center offers interesting facts for Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2010

Jan. 13, 2010

EDITORS: Tanya J. Hall, an economic research analyst at the IBRC, is available to discuss the data presented in this release and can be reached at 812-855-5507 or

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Print-Quality Photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Among many things, Monday's (Jan. 18) observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day provides an opportunity to look at statistics regarding African Americans in the United States. The Indiana Business Research Center in Indiana University's Kelley School of Business offers this snapshot.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan turned Martin Luther King Jr. Day into a federal holiday. It was first observed in 1986. However, the year 2000 was the first time it was observed by all 50 states. The holiday is observed on the third Monday in January because it is near King's birth date of Jan. 15, 1929.

In 2008, nearly one third of organizations were closed in recognizance of MLK Jr. Day.

Population trends:

  • As of July 1, 2008, the estimated black population in the United States totaled 41.1 million, including those of more than one race. African Americans constituted 13.5 percent of the total U.S. population and had a growth of more than half a million residents from 2007 to 2008.
  • The number of African Americans in Indiana was an estimated 609,710, including those of more than one race, in 2008. The state's black population constituted 9.6 percent of the total population and had grown by nearly 40,000 people between 2007 and 2008.
  • 38.7 percent of Indiana's black population resides in Marion County, where Indianapolis is located. In 2007, Marion County also had the highest percentage of blacks as a share of county population (25.7 percent), while Warren County had the lowest share at 0.1 percent.
  • Eighteen states had an estimated black population of at least 1 million on July 1, 2008. New York led the way with 3.5 million. African Americans were the largest minority group in 2008 in nearly half of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Indiana is included in this number.
  • Seventy-seven U.S. counties had a majority-black population in 2008, all located in the southern states.


  • Among African Americans 25 and older in Indiana, 82.6 percent had at least a high school diploma in 2008. Nationwide, this figure was 83 percent.
  • The percentage of blacks in Indiana ages 25 and older who had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2008 was 15.9 percent. Nationwide, this figure was 20 percent.


  • African Americans aged 18-to-24 had the highest turnout rate in this age group in the 2008 presidential election, 55 percent, which was an 8 percent increase from 2004.
  • Overall, 64 percent of all black citizens voted in the last election, up about 5 percent from 2004. This was an increase of about 2.1 million black voters.

Income and poverty:

  • Median income for African American families continues to trail behind those for all Hoosiers. The annual median income of a black household in Indiana was $30,737 in 2008, compared to the Indiana household median income of $47,966. The national median income for black households was $34,218.
  • The poverty rate in 2008 for black Hoosiers was 24.2 percent, slightly better than the national average of 24.7 percent.

Jobs and businesses:

  • Little more than a quarter of all black Hoosiers (26.5 percent) worked in a management, professional, and related occupation in 2008. Other popular occupations included sales and office occupations (26.1 percent) and service occupations (23.8 percent).
  • Revenues for all U.S. black-owned businesses totaled $88.6 billion in 2002 (the most recent data available) compared to almost $1.7 million in revenues generated in Indiana. Nearly 1.2 million black-owned businesses existed in 2002 with 14,056 (1.2 percent) of these businesses located in Indiana. The state with the most black-owned businesses was New York (10.8 percent).