Metropolitan Unemployment by Race

African American unemployment rates

"The black unemployment rate in both the Detroit and Minneapolis metropolitan areas was just over 20% (see Table 4). These were the highest rates for blacks. Washington D.C. had the lowest black metro unemployment rate in 2009, 8.1%. Fourteen of the metro areas had black unemployment rates that exceeded 11.3%. None was less than 7.3%. By contrast, in 11 of the 18 metro areas analyzed for blacks, whites had unemployment rates below 7.3%.

"The black-white unemployment ratio was highest in Minneapolis and Memphis. In these metropolitan areas, the black unemployment rate was three times the white rate. In both of these cities the black-white gap was also over 10 percentage points. The black-white ratio was lowest in Detroit, but blacks were still 1.5 times as likely to be unemployed as whites. On average, blacks were twice as likely to be unemployed as whites."

--From Algernon Austin, "Uneven Pain: Unemployment by Metropolitan Area and Race," Issue Brief #278 (Washington, D.C.: Economic Policy Institute, 2010).


Hear Algernon Austin and others discuss the 3-to-1 black-white unemployment disparity in the Minneapolis metro area on Minnesota Public Radio.

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--Algernon Austin, Ph.D.