This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Twists on Income Inequality by Race in America

The Census Bureau has been releasing data from the American Community Survey and one of the recent analyses points to the impact of higher income blacks leaving inner cities for the suburbs, including those in southern states. The Associate Press reports that:

Affluent black Americans who are leaving industrial cities for the suburbs and the South are shifting traditional lines between rich and poor, according to new census data. Their migration is widening the income gap between whites and the inner-city blacks who remain behind, while making blacks less monolithic as a group and subject to greater income disparities.
"Reverse migration is changing the South and its race relations," said Roderick Harrison, a Howard University sociologist and former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau.
The less well-educated are being left behind in the inner city, creating greater disparities there, at the same time that income inequality in general in the United States has been widening.
The typical white person last year earned income roughly 1.7 times higher than that of blacks, the widest ratio since the 1990s. Census figures released Thursday show that cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Milwaukee in particular saw increases in inequality, hurt by an exodus of middle-class minorities while lower-skilled blacks stayed in the cities.
Low-income blacks also slipped further behind. The share of black households ranking among the poorest poor — those earning less than $15,000 — climbed from 20 percent to 26 percent over the past decade; other race and ethnic groups posted smaller increases. At the same time, African-Americans making $200,000 or more a year were unchanged from 2000 at about 1.1 percent, even after a deep recession.
William H. Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer who did a broad analysis of the race and income data, said the latest numbers reflect a longer-term trend of increased racial integration between blacks and whites. He said the changes could pose challenges in the coming months in political redistricting as well as courting the traditional black vote.

This is yet another example of the idea that the future is a foreign country--change is afoot in many ways.

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