Special Report

Worst Congressional Districts for Black Americans

Source: JodiJacobson / Getty Images

10. Ohio’s 9th Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Democratic Party)
> Poverty rate: 37.8% black; 14.4% white
> Unemployment rate: 17.6% black; 7.2% white
> Homeownership rate: 31.4% black; 66.9% white

Ohio’s 9th Congressional District is located on the northern border of the state along Lake Erie, stretching from Toledo eastward nearly to Cleveland. Like many congressional districts on this list, particularly those in the Midwest, Ohio’s 9th District intersects with at least one pivot county — a county that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and for Donald Trump in 2016.

The median income among the predominantly white district’s black households is just $28,569 a year, well below the median annual income among white households of $54,092. Homeownership is a practical way for many American families to build wealth, and in this district, the black homeownership rate of 31.4% is less than half the white homeownership rate of 66.9%.

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9. New York’s 26th Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Brian Higgins (Democratic Party)
> Poverty rate: 35.2% black; 11.5% white
> Unemployment rate: 13.0% black; 4.8% white
> Homeownership rate: 32.3% black; 69.0% white

New York’s 26th Congressional District is located along the western border of the state and includes Buffalo, the second most populous city in the state. As is the case for many congressional districts on this list, New York’s 26th overlaps with at least one county that went to Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Trump in 2016. The district is currently served by Democrat Brian Higgins, a congressman since 2005.

This majority-white district has some of the nation’s largest socioeconomic disparities along racial lines. White adults in the district are more than twice as likely to have a college degree as black residents 25 and older, which likely contributes to the income disparities. The typical black district household has an income of just $24,047 a year, compared to the median income of $47,295 among white households.

Source: JodiJacobson / Getty Images

8. Florida’s 21st Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Lois Frankel (Democratic Party)
> Poverty rate: 19.5% black; 8.7% white
> Unemployment rate: 12.1% black; 6.6% white
> Homeownership rate: 47.1% black; 79.3% white

Disparities in socioeconomic outcomes in Florida’s 21st Congressional District are worse than anywhere else in the state. Black area workers are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as white workers, and the 19.5% poverty rate among the district’s black residents is more than double the white poverty rate.

The district is located on Florida’s Atlantic coast, from West Palm Beach down to just north and west of Boca Raton. Democratic Congresswoman Lois Frankel currently represents the district.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

7. Ohio’s 11th Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (Democratic Party)
> Poverty rate: 34.5% black; 14.3% white
> Unemployment rate: 18.4% black; 6.0% white
> Homeownership rate: 38.2% black; 66.0% white

Ohio’s 11th Congressional District is located in the northern part of the state and stretches from Cleveland and Akron. The largely-black district votes heavily Democratic. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge has served the area for the last decade.

The typical white household in the district earns $61,813 a year, more than double the median income of $30,466 for black area households. Black workers in the area are also more than three times as likely to be unemployed as white workers. Heavily segregated areas often have the worst disparities in economic measures like these — and due to the legacy of racist zoning policies in the 20th century, Cleveland ranks among the most racially segregated cities in the country.

Source: Mfields1 / Wikimedia Commons

6. Ohio’s 1st Congressional District
> Current representative: Rep. Steve Chabot (Republican Party)
> Poverty rate: 35.4% black; 9.2% white
> Unemployment rate: 15.5% black; 5.2% white
> Homeownership rate: 30.1% black; 73.1% white

Ohio’s 1st Congressional District has the worst disparities along racial lines of any district in the state. The district covers much of the city of Cincinnati and borders Kentucky and Indiana. Republican Rep. Steve Chabot has served the majority-white district since 2011. Chabot also represented the district between 1995 and 2008, the year he lost his bid for reelection.

The typical black household in the area has an income of less than $30,000 a year, while the median income for white households in the district is nearly $76,000 annually. Black area residents are also about three times as likely to be unemployed and live in poverty as white residents.

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