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.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

When It Comes to Income, Race Matters & Place Matters

You may already have seen a widely circulated story from the New York Times summarizing a recent research report on what the NYT writers call a "Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys."
Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children. White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households.
The study's authors, who are from Harvard, Stanford, and the U.S. Census Bureau, offer these major takeaways from their analysis:
Finding #1: Hispanic Americans are moving up in the income distribution across generations, while Black Americans and American Indians are not.
Finding #2: The black-white income gap is entirely driven by differences in men’s, not women’s, outcomes.
Finding #3: Differences in family characteristics – parental marriage rates, education, wealth – and differences in ability explain very little of the black-white gap.
Finding #4: In 99% of neighborhoods in the United States, black boys earn less in adulthood than white boys who grow up in families with comparable income.
Finding #5: Both black and white boys have better outcomes in low-poverty areas, but black-white gaps are bigger in such neighborhoods.
Finding #6: Within low-poverty areas, black-white gaps are smallest in places with low levels of racial bias among whites and high rates of father presence among blacks.
Finding #7: The black-white gap is not immutable: black boys who move to better neighborhoods as children have significantly better outcomes.
The last finding is reminiscent of a point made in my blog post yesterday, underscoring that immigrants to happier places are happier than immigrants in less happy places. Place matters, just as race matters. This is not environmental determinism, of course. Both matter because of the nature of human society. 

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