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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

African American Affairs

African American Affairs Initiative

African American Family

In order to fulfill the Mission of the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs and increase prosperity in the African American community, the African American Advisory Committee encourages public-private partnerships that support both long-term social and economic success for all African Americans.  With this goal in mind, the CMA has identified the following focus areas for agency initiatives.


Social Areas

  • Rebuilding Strong Families
  • Education
  • Health Status and Care
  • Criminal Justice

Economic Areas

  • Community/Economic Development
  • Jobs -Unemployment/Underemployment
  • Income and Wealth Creation
  • Minority Business/Venture Capital

African American State of Affairs in South Carolina

South Carolina ranks 14th in the Nation in terms of its minority population. However, South Carolina ranks sixth (only behind Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia respectively) in terms of its African American population.

African Americans comprise at least 30.4 percent of the state’s population, yet are said to represent 94.5 percent of all minorities in the state (U.S. Census, 2008).

African Americans in the state have a 28 percent family poverty rate with 37.0 percent of children living in poverty compared to whites whose poverty rates are 5.9 percent for families and 12.0 percent for children.

This statistic does not necessarily include the working poor whose income is slightly above the poverty line, but are still suffering the effects of poverty and deprivation (U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Statistical Abstract –December 2008).

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of African American children in the state are living in single headed households. Today, nearly 70 percent of African American children born in this state are born to single mothers, with 18.3 percent to teen mothers (December 2008).

Preliminary 2008 annual average unemployment rates for South Carolina respectively, are 11.5% for African American males and 9.0% for African American females, over twice the annual average rate for White males  (5.0%) and White females (5.8%). (U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 2009).

The state currently has the third highest unemployment rate in the nation at 9.5%. The SC Department of Education notes that African American males enrolled in schools in South Carolina during the 2006-2007 school year account for 30.1% of all 9th through 12th grade high school dropouts. The rate for African American females is 20.1 percent. Respective race and gender percentages for White students are 28.0% for White males and 21.8% for White females. Group dropout rates by race and gender are respectively, 60.0% for African-American males, 40% for African-American females, 56.3% for White males, and 43.7% for White females – (SC Department of Education, Report on Student Dropout Rates, January 2009).

In 2007, 44.6 percent of African American males and 33.4 percent of African American females failed at least one (one or both) parts of the 10th grade exit HSAP exam. (SC Kids Count Report-2008).

African Americans in the state have a significantly higher infant mortality rate than whites and are almost twice as likely to have babies with low birth weight. As of June 30, 2008, African American males account for 62.4% or 15,638 of the 25,066 inmates in Department of Corrections Facilities statewide. However, African American males between the ages of 17 and 44 years of age accounted for 82.0% or 12,823 of the 15,638 African-American male incarcerated adults in SC Department of Corrections facilities.

African American Affairs Initiative Values Statement

Our statement of values represents our guiding principles or the things about which we care most as a community. Our intent is to demonstrate these beliefs in all of our
interactions with others. The actions of the African American community is guided by the following values:

  • We value the African American family as the center of love, learning, and spirituality.
  • We value educational excellence as fundamental to a productive and rewarding life.
  • We value existing community assets, and the need for skills and resources to build, maintain, and promote community/economic development.
  • We value the importance of acquiring skills, education, and training to obtain higher paying jobs that will improve per capita income.
  • We value income and wealth as a means to self-sufficiency and empowerment.
  • We value investing in our communities through the creation and growth of profitable businesses.
  • We value optimal health for every African American and care that is accessible, affordable, appropriate, and culturally acceptable.
  • We value law and order, and the administration of a just and equitable criminal justice system.

African American Data Reports

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs publishes documents on minority concerns in the state, including a statistical profile by counties, community resource directory, and results from education surveys.  Here you will find reports that relate to the African-American population.

2016 GRIT Final Report

Higher Education Minority Retention Report 2016

Strategic Issues Facing African Americans
This report focuses on various concerns of African Americans in South Carolina such as poverty, births to teen mothers, educational attainment, child abuse and neglect and rebuilding strong families.

DHEC African  American Health Report March 2012
This report focuses on various health concerns of African Americans in South Carolina based on findings from a 2012 health assessment survey.  There is a particular focus on diabetes prevention and tobacco use prevention.

South Carolina County Health Disparities Profile: Calhoun, Dorchester and Orangeburg

South Carolina Profile of Minority Housing Data

Older Veteran Behavioral Health Resource Inventory

SCDVC Outreach Toolkit