Black millennials are killing the game.
In the 2016 Nielsen African-American report, black millennials are being described as tech-savvy, socially and civically engaged, with a growing population and growing buying power.
Indeed, the report, “Young Connected and Black: African American Millennials Are Driving Social Change and Leading Digital Advancement,” indicates that black millennials are very optimistic about what the future holds and are considered catalysts for change.
Nielsen reports that African Americans are closing the mobile digital divide, with 91 percent having access to the internet via a smartphone or broadband in 2015. That is up from 86 percent the year prior.
The use of mobile devices, the report notes, has been key to bringing a heightened awareness to social issues via social media … think #BankBlack, #OscarsSoWhite, #BlackLivesMatter and other viral hashtags started by black people.
In addition, black excellence has just been proliferating as we continue to make progress in education—where the high school dropout rate for the total black population has declined from 21 percent in 2004 to 16 percent in 2014, according to most recent data.
Almost 71 percent of African-American recent high school graduates enrolled in college in 2014, a huge spike from the 59.3 percent who did so in 2013, and exceeding the college-enrollment rate of their white counterparts (67.3 percent).
Black businesses are also growing, particularly in new businesses founded and led by black women. According to Nielsen, the 2014 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners showed that between 2007 and 2012, the number of majority-black-owned business grew 34 percent, although black businesses still represent only 9 percent of all U.S. businesses.
African Americans have also shown some income growth over the past decade, with the percentage of households with incomes under $25,000 decreasing from 43 percent in 2004 to 37 percent in 2014. The share of households with annual incomes from $50,000 to $75,000 and $75,000 to $100,000 increased from 15 percent to 16 percent, and from 7 percent to 9 percent, respectively.
Probably the most shocking statistic given in the intensive breakdown is that somehow, despite all the killings of unarmed African Americans by the police, despite nationwide protest and massive amounts of blatant racism in the past few years, African Americans are more optimistic than any other group about the future of the country.
Nielsen cites a March 2016 Harris Poll Survey that indicates that 49 percent of African Americans believe that the country is headed in the right direction, while only 45 percent of Hispanics, 42 percent of Asian Americans and 23 percent of whites said the same.
“African Americans are exuberant and reflective—optimistic about present-day advances in income, education, entrepreneurship and health care,” the report reads. “And determined to forge a better future as influential leaders and catalysts of social awareness against discrimination and social injustice.”
Breanna Edwards is news editor at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.