10 ways black Americans still face more inequality than whites
Donald Trump won the electoral college with wafer-thin majorities in a handful of key states, in part by attracting the support of working class and rural whites. As a result, the plight of the white working class is now a deep concern of pundits, politicians and scholars. But there is a danger that in the rush to understand whites, too much attention is diverted from the group who are, to coin a phrase, the truly disadvantaged: black Americans.
Here are 10 reasons why the circumstances of black Americans ought to remain right at the top of the agenda for policymakers:
1. Food insecurity: More than one in five black families live in households that are food insecure, compared to one in ten white families:
2. Poverty: Almost four in ten black children live in a household in poverty, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups:
3. Labor force participation: Among prime-age adults (ages 25 to 54), about one in five black men are not in the labor force, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups:
4. Criminal justice: Although blacks and whites use marijuana at approximately the same rate, blacks are over 3 and a half times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession:
5. Wage gap: For every dollar earned by a white worker, a black worker only makes 74 cents:
6. Housing: Black families are twice as likely as whites to live in substandard housing conditions:
7. College debt: Black college graduates now have twice the amount of debt as white college graduates:
8. Incarceration rate, women: The likelihood of a black woman born in 2001 being imprisoned over the course of her lifetime is one in 18, compared to 1 in 111 for a white woman.
9. Incarceration rate, men: Similarly, the likelihood of a black man being imprisoned is 1 in 3, compared to 1 in 17 for a white man:
10. Upward mobility: Of black children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, about half of them will still be there as adults, compared to less than one-quarter of white children:
None of this takes away from the genuine challenges faced by poor and working class whites. Indeed, many of the issues faced by low-income families — weak wage growth, high housing costs, lack of access to good health care of education — cut across race lines. But it is to say that black Americans continue to face steeper, structural inequities that require urgent attention.
This post originally appeared on www.brookings.edu.