Data Snapshot: Inequities Affecting Black Girls in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

Data Snapshot: Inequities Affecting Black Girls in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

Efforts to support the well-being and academic success of African-American girls in the Pittsburgh area must address the intersection of poverty, education, juvenile justice, violence/abuse, and child welfare, a report from the Heinz Endowments and FISA Foundation argues. According to the report, Data Snapshot: Inequities Affecting Black Girls in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County (20 pages, PDF), black girls in Pittsburgh are far more likely than their white peers to live in poverty — even more so than the national or county average. African-American girls in Allegheny County also have fewer opportunities to participate in school athletics — a significant pathway to school engagement, good health, leadership development, and college. And black girls in Pittsburgh Public Schools are three times as likely as white girls to be suspended (suspensions are consistently associated with lower academic performance and higher likelihood of dropping out and/or involvement with the justice system). The report notes that poverty increases girls' risk of abuse and exploitation, with African-American girls more likely to report childhood traumas such as child abuse, family violence, intimate partner violence, and the violent death of someone close to them at higher rates than their white peers. In addition, black girls in Allegheny County are more likely to be involved in the child welfare system — as well as more likely to enter the system as teens and be placed in congregate care.