Surprise! White-Minority Income Gap Continues to Widen

The income gap between whites and blacks in America has been widening for some time. A few years ago, a Brookings Institution study spelled out the fact that thirty-something blacks in 2007 were worse off than their parents had been at the same age in the mid-1970s. Despite the civil rights wins, the gap between African-Americans and whites had at some point started getting worse, not better.

And with the recession comes even more disheartening news. A new study by United for a Fair Economy, aptly titled "State of the Dream 2010: Drained – Jobless and Foreclosed in Communities of Color" (pdf), paints a dismal portrait of the situation at the end of last year. Its authors broke down the unemployment rate by race and ethnicity and found that the Dec. 2009 rates were higher for African-Americans and Latinos than any annual rate in nearly three decades.

Black unemployment was at 16.2 percent; for Latinos it was at 12.9 percent. Meanwhile, unemployment among whites fell for the second month in a row to 9 percent. And in certain states -- like Michigan and Ohio -- the African-American unemployment rate could hit the 20s this year.


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