Worst Congressional Districts for Black Americans

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Illinois’s 12th Congressional District
Source: Philip Rozenski / Getty Images

20. Illinois’s 12th Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Mike Bost (Republican Party)
> Poverty rate: 37.8% black; 13.1% white
> Unemployment rate: 15.1% black; 6.5% white
> Homeownership rate: 37.8% black; 73.8% white

Illinois’s 12th Congressional District covers the southern tip of the state. The typical white household in the district has an annual income of $52,903, almost double the income of the typical black area household of $26,490. Black residents in the area are more than twice as likely to be unemployed and nearly three times as likely to live below the poverty line as white residents. Republican Rep. Mike Bost has represented the district since 2015.

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19. Illinois’s 13th Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Rodney Davis (Republican Party)
> Poverty rate: 37.1% black; 14.4% white
> Unemployment rate: 14.2% black; 5.8% white
> Homeownership rate: 30.3% black; 71.3% white

Illinois’s 13th Congressional District is located partially along the state’s western border with Missouri and extends east into the center of the state. The district is predominantly white, and socioeconomic outcomes are heavily lopsided along racial lines. The poverty rate among the area’s black population of 37.1% is more than double the white poverty rate of 14.4%. Black residents of the 13th District are also far less likely than white residents to own their home. The black homeownership rate of 30.3% is less than half the white homeownership rate of 71.3%.

Republican Rep. Rodney Davis has represented the district since 2013. Davis narrowly won reelection in 2018.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

18. Florida’s 14th Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Kathy Castor (Democratic Party)
> Poverty rate: 30.8% black; 10.4% white
> Unemployment rate: 13.0% black; 5.3% white
> Homeownership rate: 30.3% black; 61.7% white

Florida’s 14th District, located on the northern side of Tampa Bay, is one of several congressional districts in Florida to rank on this list. Black area residents are less than half as likely to be homeowners as white residents, nearly three times as likely to live below the poverty line, and more than twice as likely to be unemployed.

Democrat Rep. Kathy Castor currently serves the west-central Florida district. Castor has been in congress since 2007, originally serving Florida’s 11th Congressional District. She has served the 14th Congressional District since 2013.

Source: Geoff Eccles / Getty Images

17. Illinois’s 1st Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Bobby L. Rush (Democratic Party)
> Poverty rate: 27.6% black; 7.0% white
> Unemployment rate: 19.8% black; 6.3% white
> Homeownership rate: 43.7% black; 83.1% white

The 1st District in Illinois is a predominantly black area that stretches from just south of Chicago southwest into the interior of the state. The typical black household in the area has an income of just $36,064 a year, less than half the median household income of $77,065 for white households in the district. The income gap along racial lines is partially attributable to an even greater disparity in unemployment. Nearly one in every five black workers in the area are unemployed, more than triple the 6.3% white unemployment rate.

The district has been served by Democrat Bobby Rush for the last 26 years. Rush most recently won reelection in 2018 with over 73% of the vote.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

16. New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (Democratic Party)
> Poverty rate: 26.5% black; 7.5% white
> Unemployment rate: 16.8% black; 7.6% white
> Homeownership rate: 44.4% black; 81.6% white

New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District covers the southern end of the state and includes Atlantic City and Cape May. The district has some of the worst socioeconomic disparities along racial lines in the country. Black residents of the congressional district are more than three times as likely as white residents to live below the poverty line and more than twice as likely to be unemployed.

Democrat Rep. Jefferson Van Drew currently serves the district. Van Drew took office in 2019 after winning the 2018 election. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, who opted not to run in 2018, had held the seat since 1995.