Black America remains in crisis, and significant racial disparities in the areas of economics, health, education, and social justice urgently need to be addressed, a report from the National Urban League argues.
The thirty-ninth edition of the State of Black America – "Save Our Cities: Education, Jobs + Justice" (185 pages, PDF or HTML) found that the unemployment rate (11.3 percent) for African Americans is twice that of whites (5.3 percent), while African Americans' median household income ($34,815) is about 60 percent of whites' ($57,684) and their median wealth ($6,314) is just 6 percent of whites' ($110,500). The 2015 Equality Index for African Americans, which measures black-white equality based on multiple indicators in the areas of economics, health, education, social justice, and civic engagement, stood at 72.2 percent overall, which means that quality of life for African Americans is less than three-fourths that of white Americans. The report also found that the indices for social justice (60.6 percent), health (79.8 percent), and economics (55.8 percent) rose slightly on a year-over-year basis, while those for education (76.1 percent) and civil engagement fell slightly (104 percent).
For the first time, the report also includes a State Education Equality Index that documents the extent of black-white and Latino-white K-12 achievement gaps in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. The study found the smallest racial gaps in graduation rates and performance in states with relatively small minority populations and in cases where test scores were low for all three populations; larger gaps existed in states with large minority populations living in poor, segregated neighborhoods. According to the report, as a result of poverty, low teacher quality, and inequitable resource allocation, African-American and Latino children consistently fare worse than their white counterparts in reading and math proficiency.
"The 2015 State of Black America – 'Save Our Cities: Education, Jobs + Justice' — and its corresponding Equality Index findings are a clarion call that a more comprehensive, inclusive, and on-the-ground recovery is necessary to ensure a healthy future for our nation and that we cannot expect to successfully move forward when we are leaving so many behind," said National Urban League president and CEO Marc H. Morial. "Few times in a nation's history is its collective conscience shocked and awakened across racial, economic, generational, and even ideological lines as ours has been over the past year. We are in that moment, and as long as justice is challenged on any front, we will keep pushing on every front."