Hispanics generally fare better than blacks in rankings of inequality in American life, according to a new report by the National Urban League released last week.
The annual report, called the State of Black America, for the first time this year also included a ranking of income inequality and unemployment for 77 U.S. cities that had large black populations and 83 cities that had large Hispanic populations, based on data from the American Community Survey, an annual survey by the Census Bureau.
“You can’t have a conversation about income inequality without talking about race,” said Marc H. Morial, the president and chief executive of the National Urban League. “Black and brown people are significantly being left behind.”
Nationwide, black Americans are twice as likely to be unemployed as whites (13.1 percent of blacks versus 6.5 percent of whites, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). The rate for Hispanics was 9.1 percent. The report also focused on underemployment which includes those who are jobless and not looking or working part-time jobs but desiring full-time work. According to the report, the underemployment rate for black workers was 20.5 percent, compared with 18.4 percent for Hispanic workers and 11.8 percent for white workers.
The report ranked metropolitan statistical areas where the unemployment gap between blacks and whites was both larger and smaller than the national average. Unemployment levels include those who are actively looking for work.
Topping the list with the smallest employment gap was the Augusta-Richmond County area in Georgia, where 13.3 percent of blacks are unemployed compared with 8.5 percent of whites, and blacks in that area are about 1.5 times more likely to be unemployed than whites. Other areas where the gap between black and white unemployment was smaller than the national average included the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario region in California, the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville region in Florida, the Las Vegas metro area, and the Chattanooga, Tenn., metro area.
The biggest employment gap was found in Madison, Wis., where 18.5 percent of blacks are unemployed compared with 4.4 percent of whites. Other cities with gaps that are larger than the national average included Lancaster, Pa.; Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis.; the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn., metro area; the Des Moines, Iowa, metro area; and Baton Rouge, La.
There were also differences in income between blacks and whites. The region with the smallest gap in median income between blacks and whites was Riverside, Calif., which also had one of the smallest unemployment gaps between the two groups. In that area, the median household income for blacks was $44,572 a year compared with $57,252 for whites. In the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota, one of the regions with the highest gap in unemployment between whites and blacks, the median household income for blacks was $28,784 a year compared with $71,376 for whites.
There were no cities where blacks fared better than whites in terms of income or employment. That was not true for Hispanics.
In the greater Memphis area, for example, 3.8 percent of Hispanics were unemployed compared with 6.5 percent of whites. Jacksonville, Fla., the Indianapolis metro area and the Nashville, Tenn., metro area all had higher rates of unemployment for whites than among Hispanics. In Madison, Wis., where the gap between whites and blacks both in income and unemployment was significant, the percentages of unemployed Hispanics, 4.5 percent, was almost identical to that of whites. That city also ranked among the top 20 for income equality between Hispanics and whites, where the median household income for Hispanics was $45,514 a year compared with whites at $62,585.
The area with the smallest income gap between Hispanics and whites was the Lakeland-Winter Haven region in Florida where the median household income for Hispanics was $39,434 a year compared with $44,014 for whites. The city with the largest income gap between those two groups was Springfield, Mass., where the median income for Hispanics was $20,762 compared with $58,549 for whites.