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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

N.C.’s African American Population

Q: What percentage of North Carolina’s population is African American?

A: In 2006, African Americans made up 21 percent of North Carolina’s total population. As of April 28, they also represent 21 percent of the state’s registered voters and 38 percent of registered Democrats.


According to the Census Bureau’s 2006 American Community Survey, the most recent data available, the total African American population for North Carolina was 1.9 million. That’s just over 21 percent of the 8.9 million people living in the state. 

We suspect this question may have something to do with the May 6 North Carolina Democratic primary between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in which, according to a Public Policy Polling survey of likely voters released April 28, Obama is leading Clinton 51 percent to 39 percent among all voters and 83 percent to 10 percent among African Americans. 

As of April 28, the North Carolina State Board of Elections put the total number of registered voters in North Carolina at 5.8 million. African Americans make up 21 percent of those voters and 38 percent of all Democratic voters. (The vast majority – 84 percent – of African American voters are registered as Democrats.)

North Carolina has a modified closed primary, meaning that Democrats and Republicans must vote based on their party affiliation, but unaffiliated voters are free to vote for any candidate. Nearly 12 percent of registered African Americans are unaffiliated, and they make up 11.5 percent of all independent voters in the state, according to the Board of Elections.

The number of blacks registering to vote for the first time has increased, probably as a result of Obama’s campaign. Associated Press reporter Mike Baker reported that the state has seen a surge in registration among black voters in the first three months of this year, with 45,000 registering for the first time, more than four times the number of newly registered blacks in the same time period four years ago.

-D’Angelo Gore


North Carolina State Board of Elections. "North Carolina Party Statistics Report 2007," 2 Jan. 2008. accessed 23 April 2008.

North Carolina State Board of Elections. North Carolina County Statistics Report, 24 April 2008.

American Community Survey 2006. Total Population. U.S. Census Bureau, accessed 23 April 2008.

American Community Survey 2006. "Percent of the Total Population Who Are Black or African American Alone: 2006," accessed 23 April 2008.

Baker, Mike. "NC Voters Registration Surge." Associated Press. 9 April 2008, accessed 23 April 2008.