Mar 9, 2018

Report shows African Americans still disadvantaged by racial inequality

MLK Funeral

Crowds following Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral procession. Photo: James L. Amos/Corbis via Getty Images

A report released by the Economic Policy Institute shows that there has been no progress for African Americans in comparison to whites regarding employment, homeownership and incarceration since the release of the Kerner Commission in 1968.

By the numbers

  • The unemployment rate for African Americans in 2017 was 7.5% — 0.8 points higher than it was in 1968 (6.7%.) The unemployment rate for whites was 3.8% in 2017 and 3.2% in 1968, per Economic Policy Institute.
  • The share of black households that owned their own home remained virtually unchanged between 1968 (41.1%) and today (41.2%.) Over the same period, homeownership for white households increased 5.2 points to 71.1%, about 30 points higher than the ownership rate for black households, per Economic Policy Institute.
  • In 1968, African Americans were about 5.4 times more likely in prison or jail. Today, African Americans are 6.4 times more likely than whites to be incarcerated, although whites are much more likely to be incarcerated now than they were in 1968, per Economic Policy Institute.
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