Why Blacks Need to Pay Attention to Social Security Politics

Blacks are more dependent on Social Security for retirement than other groups. While 15.4% of Americans rely on Social Security for all of their retirement income. It is 27.7% for blacks. See the Washington Post graphic.


Missing Blacks? Look South

Both Michigan and Illinois, whose cities have rich black cultural traditions, showed an overall loss of blacks for the first time, said William Frey, the chief demographer at the Brookings Institution.

And Atlanta, for the first time, has replaced Chicago as the metro area with the largest number of African-Americans after New York. About 17 percent of blacks who moved to the South in the past decade left New York State, far more than from any other state, the census data show.

. . .

Northern blacks were a big part of Southern gains. There are now more than one million black residents of the South who were born in the Northeast, a tenfold increase since 1970.

[Read more]

"Chocolate City" No More

The number of African Americans residing in the District plummeted by more than 11 percent during the past decade, with blacks on the verge of losing their majority status in the city for the first time in half a century.

According to census statistics released Thursday, barely 50 percent of the District’s population was African American in 2010 — a remarkable shift in a place once nicknamed “Chocolate City.”

[Read more]


Detroit Keeps Shrinking

“This is the biggest loss of blacks the city has shown, and that’s tied to the foreclosures in the city’s housing,” Mr. Frey said. Because of the Great Migration — when blacks flowed from the South to the North — and the loss of whites, he said, “Detroit has been the most segregated city in the country and it is still pretty segregated, but not as much.” At one point, the city was 83 percent black.

Many blacks moved to nearby suburbs, but census data shows that even those suburbs have barely held their own against population loss.

[Read more]

Separate and Unequal

We pretend that no one’s a racist anymore, but it’s easier to talk about pornography in polite company than racial integration. Everybody’s in favor of helping poor black kids do better in school, but the consensus is that those efforts are best confined to the kids’ own poor black neighborhoods.

[Read more]


Racial Mixing Greatly Exaggerated

While it is true that growing numbers of Americans identify as being of more than one race, we are still an overwhelming mono-racial population. And we will be majority mono-racial for quite a while. In 2009, only 2.5 percent of the population identified as being "two or more races."

Recently, the New York Times reported that "nearly 9 percent of all marriages in the United States . . . were interracial or interethnic." This amount is more than double the percentage in 1980. It is a growing percentage, but still a small one.

When one examines the interethnic marriages between Hispanics and non-Hispanics carefully as I do below, these marriages seem much less like Americans moving to a new frontier and more like Americans retreading the same ground that we have for centuries.

In 2009, the vast majority of whites married whites. The vast majority of blacks married blacks. The majority of Asians, married Asians.

Hispanics also mainly marry other Hispanics. Further, many of the marriages where Hispanics marry a non-Hispanic are, in fact, marriages between people of the same race.

Before we go into the data published by the New York Times, we need to be aware of certain facts about Hispanic classification. The Census Bureau convention is that being Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race. Hispanics can be of any race. One can be white and Hispanic, black and Hispanic, Asian and Hispanic, and American Indian and Hispanic.

About 60 percent of Hispanics identify racially as white. About 30 percent apparently reject the Census Bureau conventions and say that their race is "Other." However, the Times data does not present information about the "Others." Only about 2 percent of Hispanics, identify as black.

The data for men and women are quite similar. For brevity, I will only discuss the race of the women Hispanic men married. In 2009, only 18 percent of white Hispanic men did not marry a white Hispanic woman. But 17 percent of them married a white non-Hispanic woman. Only 1 percent of white Hispanic men married someone who was not white. Thus, the interethnic marriages of white Hispanics are almost entirely of whites marrying other whites.

Black Hispanic men had more interracial marriages, but still half of them married another black Hispanic. Twenty-two percent of black Hispanics married black non-Hispanics. Nearly three quarters of black Hispanic men married black women, Hispanic and non-Hispanic. Therefore, these interethnic marriages, too, are mainly of black people marrying other black people.

Interracial marriage is increasing. But this does not change the fact that Americans overwhelmingly marry people of the same race. The interethnic Hispanic marriages that some take as evidence of old boundaries breaking down are mainly marriages of whites marrying whites and blacks marrying blacks. This marriage pattern is a very old one in America.


We Are Still a Highly Segregated Country

The latest Census numbers show continued (slow) decline in the racial segregation of metro areas. Today, the average white American lives in a neighborhood that’s 7 percent black, 10 percent Latino, and 4 percent Asian. Three decades ago, the average white’s neighborhood was only 5 percent black, 5 percent Latino, and 1 percent Asian. So lots of white people see their neighborhoods as diverse. But even so, if you’re anything like the average white person, your neighbors are still overwhelmingly white.

[Read more]


Low-Income Renters Suffering

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released its biannual report to Congress on the housing needs of low income Americans.

It shows an increased number of very low-income households have severe housing difficulties, particularly housing costs that far exceed what they can afford.

[Read more]


Why Do Blacks Earn Less?

In 2008, the nation elected its first black president, Barack Obama. While some were celebrating the supposed arrival of a post-racial America, black men more generally earned only 71% of what white men earned. The median hourly wage for black male full-time workers was $14.90; for comparable white workers it was $20.84. There is no reason to expect that these differences are significantly smaller today.

Educational and other differences can explain some, but not all, of the black-white wage gap. At the end of the day, it turns out that being black matters. Two new reports that I co-authored show that neither education, skills nor culture fully explain the black-white wage disparities. The first report focuses on the occupations of black men, the second on the wages of black immigrants.

Black workers do not have equal access to all jobs. “Whiter Jobs, Higher Wages” [PDF] by Darrick Hamilton, William Darity, Jr. and myself shows that, after making adjustments for educational attainment, black men are underrepresented in 49% of all occupations and overrepresented in 38%. Thus, only 13% of occupations look like what we would expect in a land of equal opportunity.

This uneven occupational distribution is particularly important because the occupations where black men are overrepresented have an average wage that is nearly $14,000 less than the occupations where black men are underrepresented. In other words, the whiter the workforce for an occupation is the higher the pay.

This finding of whiter jobs, higher pay is not specific to any class of occupations. Blacks in managerial and professional occupations are overrepresented in the lower-paying managerial and professional occupations. Blacks in the service sector are overrepresented in the lower-paying service occupations. Blacks in manufacturing and transportation occupations are overrepresented in the lower-paying manufacturing and transportation occupations. It does not matter whether occupations require “soft skills,” “hard skills,” or managerial skills, blacks will be overrepresented in the lower-paying jobs.

The conventional wisdom that black immigrants do better economically than U.S.-born blacks because black immigrants supposedly have better cultural values also does not hold up to scrutiny. Patrick Mason and I examine the socio-economic standing and wages of black immigrants relative to U.S.-born whites and blacks in “The Low Wages of Black Immigrants” [PDF].

On all measures, U.S.-born whites come out ahead of the pack. After taking into account 15 wage-relevant factors, we find that black immigrants do not earn higher wages than U.S.-born blacks. In fact, some black immigrant groups do worse. The wages of Haitian and African men are particularly low relative to similar U.S.-born white and black men.

The major point, however, is that all blacks, U.S.-born and foreign-born, face similar economic problems. If one wants to succeed economically in American society, it helps to be white.

Colorblinded: A Special Report from the American Prospect

Articles available here.


Pay Teachers More

From the debates in Wisconsin and elsewhere about public sector unions, you might get the impression that we’re going bust because teachers are overpaid.

That’s a pernicious fallacy. A basic educational challenge is not that teachers are raking it in, but that they are underpaid. If we want to compete with other countries, and chip away at poverty across America, then we need to pay teachers more so as to attract better people into the profession.

[Read more]


Rep. Ellison's Emotional Testimony Before Homeland Security Committee

American Oligarchy

Congressional freshmen include dozens of millionaires, financial disclosures show
The members of this year's freshman class in Congress are far wealthier than the people they represent, with dozens of millionaires joining the ranks of the House and Senate, according to an analysis released Wednesday.

The Center for Responsive Politics calculates that 60 percent of Senate freshmen and 40 percent of new House lawmakers are worth $1 million or more, according to financial disclosure forms that provide ranges of assets held by each member. The nonprofit group, which tracks money in politics, notes that only about 1 percent of Americans are worth that much.

[Read more]

More on the New Jim Crow

Fla. Republicans make it harder for ex-felons to vote
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and his fellow statewide elected officials agreed Wednesday to roll back rules enacted four years ago that had made it easier for many released felons in the state to regain the right to vote.

. . .

The 2007 rule change allowed more than 100,000 felons who had completed their sentences to be able to register to vote ahead of the 2008 election, in which Barack Obama swept Florida. Experts say many of those new voters were probably Democratic-leaning African Americans.

[Read more]

Black Urban Flight Changing America’s Political Face

LOS ANGELES--A decade ago it was odd to see young (and not-so-young whites) walking their dogs, jogging and attending community meetings around my neighborhood in the western section of South Los Angeles. That’s not the case anymore.

Young and not-so-young whites are now a fixture in the neighborhood—and in many others. The black population of Los Angeles has shrunk from nearly 20 percent of the city’s overall population in 1970 to less than 10 percent today.

[Read more.]