Special Report

The Worst Cities for Black Americans

Kankakee, Illinois
Source: Wikimedia Commons

7. Kankakee, IL
> Black population: 15.8%
> Black median income: 46.2% of white income
> White unemployment: 6.2%
> Black unemployment: 16.5%

Only half a dozen U.S. cities have a greater socioeconomic gap between white and black residents than Kankakee, Illinois. Fewer than three-quarters of the city’s black adults have completed high school compared to nearly 90% of white adults. The share of white city adults who have earned a bachelor’s degree is more than double the corresponding rate among black adults.

Gaps in educational attainment in Kankakee likely contributed to even greater discrepancies in economic outcomes. Nearly 43% of black Kankakee residents live in poverty, one of the highest shares of any U.S. metro areas. Conversely, fewer than one in 10 white area residents live below the poverty line.

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Source: Thinkstock

6. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI H
> Black population: 8.0%
> Black median income: 42.0% of white income
> White unemployment: 3.5%
> Black unemployment: 9.1%

Homeownership, while not included in income measures, can greatly increase an individual’s net worth. In the Minneapolis metro area, white residents are far more likely to own a home than black residents. The white homeownership rate in the metro area of 74.5% is more than triple the 22.6% black homeownership rate.

As the city is part of the rust belt, Minneapolis’s black workers once benefitted from the availability of relatively high-paying manufacturing jobs, which did not require an education. While these jobs were present, they contributed to greater income equality. Today, income disparity in the Twin Cities metro area is a clear issue. The typical white city household earns $75,707 a year, more than double the income the typical black household earns annually.

Naples, Florida
Source: Wikimedia Commons

5. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL
> Black population: 7.0%
> Black median income: 64.2% of white income
> White unemployment: 3.5%
> Black unemployment: 14.5%

The direct value of owning a home in the United States is not as clear-cut as it used to be, as evidenced by the subprime housing crisis. That being said, homeownership is still generally a sign of prosperity and financial stability. In the Naples metro area, 32.3% of black families and individuals live in homes they own, while the white homeownership rate is 73.8%.

Educational attainment is similarly divided along racial lines in Naples. While 36.6% of the area’s white adults graduated from college, just 8% of the area’s black adults have.