The unemployment rate among Black Americans is below 6 percent for the first time in the country’s history, but racial income inequality remains a pressing issue.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, African-American unemployment has always been several percentage points higher than the national average. The median annual income of Black households in the U.S is around $36,651, which is approximately $24,000 less than White households, USA Today reports.
In certain areas, such as Waterloo-Cedar Falls Iowa, Black Americans fare worse in certain “socioeconomic measures,” writes USA Today, which worked with 24/7 Wall St. on an index that examined which U.S. metropolitan areas were the worst for Black people.
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, which ranks as the worst metro area for Black people, has large racial gaps in income and unemployment, where it’s much harder for African-Americans to be employed in the city, per the report. The unemployment rate sits at 23.9 percent for Black people in the area and 4.4 percent for White.
“Looking historically, these are cities where there is a tremendous amount of residential segregation,” Camille M. Busette, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told 24/7 Wall St. “People are not walking around, working together, going to school together, taking the same metro together, et cetera. So there isn’t a lot of familiarity,” she continued.
Below are the top five cities outlined by 25/7 Wall St. and USA Today that are the worst for Black Americans.
• Black population: 34,462 (9.1 percent)
• Black median income: $27,085 (45.6 percent of white income)
• Unemployment: 17.9 percent black; 5.6 percent white
• Homeownership rate: 31.4 percent black; 76.1 percent white
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Bloomington, Minnesota
• Black population: 270,924 (7.8 percent)
• Black median income: $31,653 (41.5 percent of white income)
• Unemployment: 12.3 percent black; 3.9 percent white
• Homeownership rate: 24.6 percent black; 75.8 percent white
• Black population: 21,450 (11.0 percent)
• Black median income: $26,888 (42.3 percent of white income)
• Unemployment: 16.6 percent black; 6.1 percent white
• Homeownership rate: 31.4 percent black; 77.1 percent white
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisconsin
• Black population: 260,776 (16.6 percent)
• Black median income: $27,834 (42.5 percent of white income)
• Unemployment: 16.1 percent black; 4.2 percent white
• Homeownership rate: 28.2 percent black; 69.5 percent white
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa
• Black population: 12,085 (7.1 percent)
• Black median income: $25,897 (46.8 percent of white income)
• Unemployment: 23.9 percent black; 4.4 percent white
• Homeownership rate: 32.8 percent black; 73.2 percent white
Visit USA Today to see which cities rounded out the list.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.