The Worst Cities for Black Americans

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Source: Thinkstock

10. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
> Black population: 11.2%
> Black median income: 40.1% of white income
> White unemployment: 4.2%
> Black unemployment: 14.4%

The typical black household in the Bridgeport metro area earns just 40 cents for every dollar a typical white household earns, one of the greatest earnings gaps of any city. The typical Black household in Bridgeport earns $43,336 a year, more than the median for black households nationwide of $38,555 but just a fraction of the median for white households in the city of $108,067.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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The racial income gap in Bridgeport is likely reinforced by the discrepancy in educational attainment among black and white residents in the city. An estimated 19.5% of black adults in the metro area currently hold a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 56.3% of white adults in the city who do. The difference of nearly 37 percentage points is the largest disparity in college education between blacks and whites of any U.S. metro area.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Springfield, IL
> Black population: 11.8%
> Black median income: 44.7% of white income
> White unemployment: 5.0%
> Black unemployment: 16.8%

Springfield has one of the largest gaps in white and black poverty of any metro area. While less than 1 in 10 white residents in the city live below the poverty line, more than 4 in 10 black residents do. One factor contributing to the poverty gap is likely the relative difficulty in finding a job as a minority in Springfield. An estimated 16.8% of the black labor force is unemployed, more than three times the white unemployment rate of 5.0%.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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Income is closely tied to health outcomes, and unsurprisingly, in an area with such high income inequality along racial lines, there are also very uneven health outcomes. The difference in age-adjusted premature mortality rate among black Springfield residents compared to their white neighbors is nearly the highest of any metropolitan area.

Source: Thinkstock

8. Syracuse, NY
> Black population: 8.3%
> Black median income: 44.2% of white income
> White unemployment: 4.4%
> Black unemployment: 15.0%

Syracuse has one of the largest racial poverty gaps of any metro area. An estimated 39.9% of black residents live below the poverty line, far more than the 11.0% of white residents who do. The difference of nearly 29 percentage points is more than twice as large as the comparable gap nationwide. Similar disparities in education and unemployment exist in the city.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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Poverty and its consequences are often exacerbated by a high concentration of poor residents in impoverished neighborhoods, where access to education and employment opportunities are limited. In Syracuse, the poorest and wealthiest parts of the city are physically separated by I-81, an elevated highway running through the center of the city that was completed in the mid-1960s.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Trenton, NJ
> Black population: 20.1%
> Black median income: 44.2% of white income
> White unemployment: 4.5%
> Black unemployment: 13.8%

New Jersey has the largest gap between blacks and whites in incarceration of any state. While less than 100 in 100,000 white state residents are incarcerated, more than 1,000 in 100,000 black residents are. Similar disparities in education and unemployment also exist in the city. Just 20.2% of black adults in Trenton have a bachelor’s degree, far less than the 49.9% of white adults who do. Similarly, 13.8% of black workers are unemployed, nearly three times the white unemployment rate of 4.5%.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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Disparities in education, unemployment, and incarceration likely contribute to a divide in earnings along racial lines in Trenton. The typical black household earns just 44 cents for every dollar a typical white household earns, one of the largest income gaps in the country.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
> Black population: 7.4%
> Black median income: 44.0% of white income
> White unemployment: 2.8%
> Black unemployment: 9.5%

Black residents in Minneapolis are not particularly impoverished compared to black residents in other metropolitan areas. The typical black household earns $34,720 a year, compared to the national median black household income of $38,555. However, while they typically do not face the same level of poverty compared to black residents elsewhere, they live in one of the most unequal places. The typical white household earns more than double the income at $78,864 a year.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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Owning property is often a sign of wealth and economic stability, and the city’s income inequality is reflected in the differences in homeownership. The homeownership among white residents is 46%, compared to a less than 14% black homeownership rate.