The May 2020 murder of George Floyd brought the U.S. into an era of racial reckoning. The tragedy, in which an unarmed Black man was killed in broad daylight by a white police officer, sparked global outrage and, in the U.S., put racial inequity at the center of the national conversation.
From slavery to the Jim Crow era, the United States has a centuries-long history of government-sanctioned racism. While such laws have been long since repealed, their legacies loom large and have shaped much of the racial inequity evident in the United States to this day.
With far fewer opportunities than white Americans have generally had to build intergenerational wealth through education, homeownership, and employment, Black Americans today are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to live below the poverty line. Additionally, the typical Black household earns just 63 cents for every dollar a typical white household earns, and African American workers are also more than twice as likely to be unemployed as white workers.
While disparities such as these span the country, they are far more pronounced in certain areas. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 24/7 Wall St. created an index to measure socioeconomic disparities between Black and white Americans by congressional districts to identify the worst congressional districts for Black Americans.
It is important to note that congressional districts, unlike cities, towns, or counties, are not managed by a central municipality and can span multiple cities, parts of cities, or be encompassed within one single city. The borders of congressional districts can also shift every 10 years due to redistricting, a process many states are undertaking currently.
As such, congressional representatives – who face reelection every two years – are limited in their power to affect change and address issues of social and economic inequality within their district. Still, congressmen and congresswomen do have the power to write, amend, and vote on legislation at the national level and bring federal money to their district.
Most of the congressional districts on this list are located in the Midwest, around cities that remain heavily segregated due to restrictive housing covenants in the early 20th century. Many are also located in the South and around industrial cities in the Northeast. The vast majority of these districts are represented by Democrats – many of whom list civil rights among their top political priorities.
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