The National Urban League’s State of Black America report is the foremost report card on Black America’s progress. And according to Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial, “Black America is in crisis — a jobs crisis, a justice crisis, and an educational crisis.”
Each year the State of Black America report calculates an “equality index” that compares how African-Americans are doing compared to their white counterparts in five crucial areas: economics, social justice, education, health, and civic engagement. A 100% equality index indicates compete equality with White America.
African-American Equality Index In Five Key Areas (100% indicates full parity with White America)
Social Justice: 60.6%
Civic Engagement: 104%
The good news is that blacks have achieved parity in civic engagement. In addition, the Affordable Care Act has increased the health equality index by giving more African-Americans access to health care.
Unfortunately, we still fall woefully behind in the areas of education, social justice, and economics. The black-white gap is particularly glaring in terms of economics. As the report indicates, rather than having a whole pie (100%), which would mean full equality with whites, African-Americans are missing out on nearly 44% of the economic pie.
In particular the report warns that:
-Black median household income is about 60% of that of whites – $34,815 vs. $57,684, respectively.
-African Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to be living in poverty.
-Blacks have a median wealth of $6,314 vs. whites who have $110,500, meaning the median African-American household has just 6 cents in wealth for every dollar of white household wealth.
-The Black unemployment rate is more than double the white unemployment rate – with Blacks at 11.3% and whites at 5.3%.
So what are some of the answers to help close the black-white economic equality gap?
Alfred Edmonds, Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer of Black Enterprise, suggests that African-Americans should start to train for and look for jobs in high paying and fast growing industries such as technology and health care.
Alfred Liggins, President and CEO of Radio One, advocates black economic empowerment through entrepreneurship. “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, things are rapidly improving, but we have decades of entrepreneurial and economic disparity to contend with in the African-American community…I believe that business ownership is a must to truly dictate the long-term success and trajectory of one’s life, family and generations to come ….”
Edmonds agrees adding that we as African-Americans need to become very serious about entrepreneurial education and financial literacy in our communities.
While the National Urban League State of Black America Report paints a gloomy picture it also reminds us that we have the power to create a brighter future. As the report concludes:
“We are a nation that has to confront today’s challenges with a clear understanding of our past. This is our work, and we will succeed because we are resilient – buoyed by our victories of yesterday, our progress of today and our hopes for tomorrow.“
BMWK, what can Black America do to create a brighter economic future?