Black Authors Statistics

Diversity and inclusion have been one of the hottest topics in the US over the last few years, and this issue has become especially popular since 2020. While most bookstores and publishers make efforts to promote and emphasize diversity and equality, the industry is still considered white-dominated.

We wanted to investigate how Black authors fare in the publishing industry so we created this in-depth report on the number and share of Black authors in the publishing world.

How many Black authors are in the US?

  • Over 10,727 Black authors and writers are currently in the US as of 2020.
  • 2020 was great for Black authors, as their number jumped by 20.38% compared to 2019.
  • This was also the first year in US history with over 10,000 Black authors officially registered in the government database.
  • Before 2020, the number of registered Black authors remained stagnant, hovering around 8,900 for several years.
  • Overall, since 2014, the number of Black authors has increased by 21.88%, but it’s important to point out that basically all of these gains occurred solely during 2020.
YearNumber of Black writers and authorsChange
Since 201421.88%
  • Black authors account for 6.28% of all registered authors in the US as of 2020.
  • The share of Black authors increased by 19.29% in 2020 compared to 2019, but this presents only a 3.49% increase since 2014.
  • Prior to 2020, the share of Black authors was decreasing in each of the previous 5 years.
  • In fact, with this huge jump occurring in 2020, Black authors recovered their 2014 numbers when it comes to their share among all authors in the country.
YearShare of Black authors among all US authorsChange
Since 20143.49%
  • While the number of Black authors since 2014 increased by over 20%, thanks to the 2020 boom, the US workforce with African-American origins increased by 16.07% over the same period.
  • This means that Black authors have grown more in numbers since 2014 compared to the available workforce.
  • However, Black authors are still underrepresented in their niche if we look at the data on the representation of Black people in the overall US workforce.
  • As of 2020, over 12% of the American workforce is Black, while at the same time, only 6.28% of US authors are Black.
  • This means that the representation of Black authors in the publishing industry is almost twice as small as the representation of Black people in the overall workforce in the country.
  • This is one of the reasons why the publishing industry is still considered to be dominated by while authors, even with the latest positive trends toward diversity.
YearShare of Black workforceChangeShare of Black authorsChange
Since 20148.77%6.71%3.49%

How many children’s Black authors are in the US?

In 2021, we released the analysis that showed a decrease in the number of bestselling children’s books written by Black authors. However, we now decided to go more in-depth than just bestsellers and see how Black authors for children compared with their colleagues. For that, we used CCBC’s database of children’s and young adult books (mainly picture books).

  • As of 2022, around 13.49% of all children’s and YA books are written by Black authors. This is a 49% increase compared to 2021, when 9.04% of books had Black authors credited.
  • There has been a notable increase in the share of Black authors in children’s literature since 2019, when Black authors accounted for only 5.57% of all children’s books released for the year.
  • As of May 2023, 16.46% of the books published during the year so far have at least one Black author or illustrator listed.
  • This is already a 22% increase over 2022 figures, showing that the trend is also going upward this year.
YearShare of books with Black authorsChange
  • Black female authors account for 71.67% of all Black authors for children’s and YA picture books, an increase from 63% in 2018.
  • Male authors currently account for 26.11% of all Black authors, and authors of other genders account for 2.22% of all Black children’s authors in the US.
  • Over the last 5 years, the share of Black male authors dropped by 26%, Black female authors grew by 13%, while Black authors of other genders grew by 92%, from 1.16% in 2018 to 2.22% in 2023.
YearMale Black authorsFemale Black authorsOther genders