The Worst States for Black Americans

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7.Connecticut
> Pct. residents black: 10.3%
> Black homeownership rate: 35.0% (21st lowest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,260 per 100,000 people (21st lowest)
> Black unemployment rate: 13.3% (20th highest)
> Unemployment rate, all people: 7.7% (15th highest)

Connecticut is home to a relatively high number of highly segregated metro areas, according to an analysis of 2010 Decennial Census data by Brookings Institution’s demographer William Frey. All three of Connecticut’s metro areas — Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven — are also among the 30 most racially-segregated in the country. In addition to living in different neighborhoods, black state residents are far less likely to own their home. The nearly 41 percentage point gap between black and white homeownership rates — 35.0% and 75.8% respectively — was among the worst in the nation. Similarly, the state had among the worst gaps in other key measures of social outcomes. Just 19.2% of black residents had at least a bachelor’s degree, versus 39.7% of the state’s white 25 and older population. Further, Connecticut had one of the largest disparities in incarceration rates in the nation, with black residents 9.38 times more likely than whites residents to be incarcerated.

6. Michigan
> Pct. residents black: 13.9%
> Black homeownership rate: 42.6% (16th highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,169 per 100,000 people (18th lowest)
> Black unemployment rate: 16.5% (tied-4th highest)
> Unemployment rate, all people: 8.6% (6th highest)

For every 100,000 black Michigan residents, more than 965 died last year, a higher rate than in all but a handful of states. The same rate for white state residents was lower by 214, nearly the widest gap by this measure in the country. Poor health and the generally higher death risk among black Michigan residents can be partly explained by economic and social factors. For example, 16.5% of black workers in the state were unemployed last year. A relatively high level of unemployment tends to lower health insurance coverage and exacerbate health risks. The jobless rate for black residents was also nearly 8 percentage points higher than the rate for white Michigan residents, which was one of the wider gaps reviewed. African-American children in Michigan also had among the worst educational outcomes compared to most of the nation. Additionally, Michigan reported 31 racially-motivated hate crimes per 100,000 people — many of which likely targeted black residents — the second-highest rate in the nation last year. While Detroit represents a small percent of Michigan’s total population, it was identified as nearly the most racially-segregated city in the United States.

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5. Pennsylvania
> Pct. residents black: 11.0%
> Black homeownership rate: 43.1% (14th highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 3,269 per 100,000 people (10th highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 14.4% (15th highest)
> Unemployment rate, all people: 7.5% (20th highest)

While some 28% of Pennsylvania’s black population did not have health insurance last year, only 8.5% of the white population did not, a difference of 20 percentage points. Also, as in the majority of the states on this list, African-American children faced larger obstacles to opportunities than their white classmates — much more than black children faced nationwide. Geographical segregation may partly explain the discrepancy in educational outcomes. A number of Pennsylvania cities, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg, were identified in a recent analysis by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research as among the nation’s 20 most racially-segregated cities. In addition, black state residents were nearly nine times more likely than their white peers to go to prison, a larger incarceration rate gap than the vast majority of states.