More Than 4 Million African Americans Hold Four-Year College Degrees

At the time of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, at best 10,000 American blacks — one in 1,000 — were college educated. There are now more than 4.2 million African Americans alive today who hold a four-year college degree.

The breakdown is as follows: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 3,021,000 blacks in this country who hold a bachelor’s but no higher degree. And there are an additional 952,000 African Americans who have a four-year college degree and who also hold a master’s degree. Another 166,000 blacks hold a professional degree in fields such as law, business, and medicine. Finally, 113,000 African Americans have obtained a doctorate. Overall, 4,252,000 African Americans possess a four-year college degree or higher.

In 2007, 18.5 percent of all African Americans over the age of 25 held a college degree. This figure has increased significantly from 13.8 percent in 1996 and 11.3 percent in 1990.