Special Report

Worst States for Black Americans

10. Ohio
> Pct. residents black:
12.1% (17th highest)
> Black homeownership rate: 35.3% (22nd lowest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,336 per 100,000 (23rd lowest)
> Black unemployment rate: 11.6% (18th highest)

Ohio is one of the worst states for black Americans. Nearly 35% of African Americans in the state live in poverty, the third highest proportion of all states and well more than double the poverty rate of Ohio’s white residents of 12.2%. Financial constraints often contribute in poor health, education and other social outcomes. The poverty in Ohio’s black communities partially explains other poor social and health outcomes among black Ohioans. The infant mortality rate in Ohio, for example, while not especially low for residents of any race, is especially high for black women in Ohio. For every 1,000 live births among black mothers in Ohio, an estimated 14 infants die — the highest such rate nationwide. By contrast, the infant mortality rate among white women in Ohio is 6.4 per 1,000 live births.

9. Louisiana
> Pct. residents black:
32.1% (2nd highest)
> Black homeownership rate: 46.9% (7th highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 2,749 per 100,000 (18th highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 10.3% (22nd lowest)

Black Louisiana residents make up 32.1% of the state’s population, more than twice the national proportion and the second highest of all states after only Mississippi. Despite the relatively large black population, Louisiana is one of the worst states for African Americans.

As is the case nationwide, black Louisiana residents are far more likely to go to prison than their white peers. The incarceration rate among white state residents, at 675 per 100,000 white Louisianans, is the fourth highest among whites nationwide. It is still much lower than the incarceration rate among black residents of 2,749 per 100,000 African American residents, which is just the 18th highest compared to other states’ black populations. Black families in Louisiana are among the most likely to own their home, with 46.9% of homes with black heads of household owned by their occupants, the second highest such rate in the nation. However, the rate is still in stark contrast with the white homeownership rate of 74.4%. Similarly, a typical black household earns just over 50% of the white median household income of $52,940, itself not particularly high compared to white households nationwide.

8. Pennsylvania
> Pct. residents black:
10.6% (20th highest)
> Black homeownership rate: 42.1% (16th highest)
> Black incarceration rate: 3,269 per 100,000 (10th highest)
> Black unemployment rate: 10.9% (22nd highest)

The poverty rate among whites in Pennsylvania is lower than the national white poverty rate, while the poverty rate among the black population is higher than the national black poverty rate. Only four other states in the country have such disproportionate poverty rates. The 29.5% poverty rate among blacks in the Keystone State is roughly three times the poverty rate among the state’s white population. In Pennsylvania, high poverty accompanies lower educational attainment. While 30.5% of white adults in Pennsylvania have a bachelor’s degree, only 16.4% of black adults have similar educational attainment.

High poverty and poor education in Pennsylvania’s black communities likely contributes to worst social outcomes. The incarceration rate among the state’s white population is 375 incarcerations for every 100,000 whites, below the national rate of 450 incarcerations per 100,000 white Americans. Meanwhile, the incarceration rate among the state’s black population of 3,269 for every 100,000 black residents is significantly higher than the national rate of about 2,306 incarcerations for every 100,000 black Americans.

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