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Educational Gains for Southern Blacks Are Charted

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Blacks living in the South are closing the gap in educational attainment that has historically existed between them and their counterparts in the North and West, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 1988, the proportion of blacks between the ages of 25 and 34 who completed four or more years of high school was 79 percent, a rate the report characterized as "not significantly different" from the 82 percent rate found in the North and the West.

At the same time, the bureau found, the proportion of Southern whites in the same age group completing four or more years of high school was 85 percent, a rate that, due to their larger numbers, was significantly less than the 88 percent rate found among whites in the North and West.

The report, "The Black Population in the United States: March 1988,'' also reveals that the proportion of blacks who had completed four or4more years of college had not risen significantly between 1980 and 1988, and that the college-completion rate for blacks remained lower in the South than in the North and West.

The most dramatic shift revealed in the report is a reversal of the century-long migration of blacks from the South to other areas of the nation.

In 1988, 56 percent of American blacks lived in the South, up from 52 percent in 1980.

The bureau also reported that the unemployment rate for black teenagers decreased from a high of 48.5 percent in 1983 to 32.4 percent in 1988, but still remains more than double the 13.1 percent unemployment rate for white teenagers.

The report includes extensive data on other characteristics of the nation's black population, including age, sex, marital status, family composition, employment, income, and poverty status.

Copies of the report are available from the Superintendent of Docu8ments, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. Request Current Population Reports, Series P-20, No. 442.

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