Jhon Moland, Jr.
The Black Population
The migration patterns and demographic composition of the black population in the United States have varied according to changes in race relations and economic conditions at local, state, and national levels. Consequently, population structures of black communities differ by county, state, and region. Such variations pose different community needs and problems, from leadership to physical facilities, and necessitate broad, flexible social policies in effecting solutions to social and economic problems. Because of the high concentration of poverty, unemployment, and underemployment among nonmetro blacks, especially in the South, special attention should be given certain key areas in the formation of social policy. Several of these areas, especially those linked to population composition and distribution, are mentioned here but will be discussed in greater detail later in this chapter. They are leadership programs, employment opportunities (including on-the-job training programs especially geared to youth), and the identification and consideration of community needs and problems as perceived by the people indigenous to the community, county, state, and region. This chapter addresses these and other issues first by examining the sociodemographic characteristics of rural and nonmetro blacks by region, with special attention given to the South, and then by a discussion of findings concerning perceived community needs and problems, and factors relating to social well-being as reflected in social indicators.
In 1790 the black population numbered about 757,000 or 19.3 percent of the total population of the United States. Until 1910, over 90 percent of all blacks were in the South, with