PRBA Project Fund

PRBAGiving Voice to Black Americans in the United States and Globally

The Need
For decades, the Institute for Social Research has served as a national leader in understanding the experiences of Black Americans. The Program for Research on Black Americans (PRBA) was established in 1976 by an interdisciplinary team of social scientists who knew that high-quality national data on African Americans is critical to advance academic scholarship, to better comprehend their lived-experiences, and to guide the development of effective public policy.
In a time of growing global Black migration and racial divisions in the United States and around the world, it is more important now than ever before to give voice to Blacks in the U.S. through support of PRBA, and globally through our new initiative, #WeGlobal: African Americans Living Abroad Project (AALAP).

The Past Predicts the Future
Over the past four decades, PRBA data has been used to generate thousands of peer-reviewed articles, scholarly chapters, books, and other major publications and public policy efforts illuminating life in Black America. The program has also mentored numerous students, post-docs, and junior faculty. Other significant highlights include:

  • Implementation of the first nationally representative survey of the Black American population and subsequent major national and regional surveys of Black populations in the Caribbean, Canada, and England.
  • The first empirical attempts to explore the heterogeneity of the Black population based on ethnicity and nativity status. This work theoretically clarifies and empirically demonstrates the nature and influence of race as distinguished from ethnicity.
  • Over the decades, PRBA’s research, public policy development, and community outreach has provided a better understanding of: 1) the influence of environmental and genetic factors, and individual behaviors, on physical and mental health disease progression and access to adequate care, 2) Black political thought, group identity, and electoral participation, and 3) the social and contextual influences on effective intergenerational family and community functioning.

The Vision
Over the past four decades since PRBA was founded, the nature of who is Black, and the social and economic composition of this population in the United States has undergone profound changes. This changing heterogeneity has created increasing challenges in conducting research, implementing community outreach, and the development of public policy initiatives. Our decades of leadership in understanding Black Americans positions us to expand our work to encompass a global scope.
The African Americans Living Abroad Project (#WeGlobal) both complements the original PRBA focus on the Black American population and expands our focus to examine the lived experiences of African Americans globally. #WeGlobal will enhance our understanding of Black nativity and migrant circumstances in a global comparative framework.

How You Can Contribute
Your partnership represents a commitment to Black Americans in the U.S. and around the world. An investment in PRBA and #WeGlobal will enable our scientific and policy teams to build upon the successes of past years by supporting a renewed focus on the domestic U.S. Black population coupled with our new focus on the growing Black American global community. This focus will illuminate the circumstances and consequences of Black American migration for individuals, families, and global communities.