Special Report

The Worst States for Black Americans

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

35. New Hampshire
> Poverty rate: 19.8% Black, 7.2% white
> Homeownership rate: 32.4% Black, 72.3% white
> Unemployment rate: 8.1% Black, 3.5% white
> Median household income: $57,925 Black, $77,015 white

New Hampshire has the second lowest level of socioeconomic racial inequality in the Northeast, after Vermont. Still, differences in social and economic outcomes along racial lines are stark in the state. For example, nearly 20% of Black New Hampshire residents live below the poverty line, compared to just 7.2% of white state residents. Black state residents are also far more likely than their white counterparts to be incarcerated in a state or federal correctional facility. Only 1.4% of New Hampshire’s population are Black, while nearly 7% of prisoners in the state are Black.

Education outcomes reveal further racial disparities in the state. Only 26.8% of Black adults in New Hampshire have a bachelor’s degree or higher, nearly 10 percentage points below the comparable share of white adults in the state.

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

34. Maryland
> Poverty rate: 13.3% Black, 6.7% white
> Homeownership rate: 51.5% Black, 75.8% white
> Unemployment rate: 7.5% Black, 3.9% white
> Median household income: $67,583 Black, $94,278 white

Race based segregation can fuel inequality, and by some measures, Maryland is the most segregated state in the country. According to census data, 59.3% of Black Maryland residents live in majority Black neighborhoods, the largest share of any state in the country. These highly segregated communities often lack economic opportunity than more integrated communities.

Across Maryland, 7.5% of the Black labor force are unemployed, compared to the 3.9% white unemployment rate. Additionally, Maryland’s Black poverty rate of 13.3% is well above the 6.7% white poverty rate. Black Maryland residents are also more than five times as likely as their white counterparts to be incarcerated in a state or federal correctional facility.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images

33. Florida
> Poverty rate: 22.0% Black, 12.1% white
> Homeownership rate: 45.3% Black, 69.6% white
> Unemployment rate: 9.1% Black, 4.8% white
> Median household income: $41,702 Black, $58,809 white

Though racial disparities are less profound in Florida on aggregate than they are in most states – particularly other Southern states – there are still wide gaps in key socioeconomic measures by race.

The Black unemployment rate in Florida of 9.1% is nearly double the 4.8% white jobless rate. Additionally, the typical Black household in Florida earns just $41,702 a year, while most white households earn over $58,800 annually. Incarceration rates further underscore racial gaps in Florida. Florida’s Black imprisonment rate of 1,207 inmates per 100,000 people is more than four times higher than the white incarceration rate of 281 per 100,000.

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images

32. Oregon
> Poverty rate: 26.3% Black, 12.3% white
> Homeownership rate: 33.6% Black, 64.3% white
> Unemployment rate: 9.0% Black, 5.2% white
> Median household income: $41,773 Black, $63,499 white

When Oregon joined the union in 1859, it explicitly forbade Black people from living within its borders, making it the only state in the country to have had such racist and restrictive laws. It was not until 1926 that Black Americans would be allowed to move to the state. Today, socioeconomic racial disparities in Oregon are pronounced.

The poverty rate among Oregon’s Black population stands at 26.3%, more than double the 12.3% white poverty rate. Homeownership is one of the most practical ways to build intergenerational wealth in the United States, and the Black homeownership rate in Oregon stands at 33.6%, compared to the white homeownership rate in the state of 64.3%.

Source: aiisha5 / iStock via Getty Images

31. Washington
> Poverty rate: 20.4% Black, 9.5% white
> Homeownership rate: 31.5% Black, 66.4% white
> Unemployment rate: 7.8% Black, 4.6% white
> Median household income: $52,742 Black, $75,135 white

Seattle, like much of the country, was segregated for most of its history and left Black residents excluded from certain neighborhoods, employment opportunities, schools, and hospitals. The effects of racist policies such as these are evident in racial disparities across the state today.

The Black homeownership rate in Washington stands at 31.5%, less than half the white homeownership rate in the state of 66.4%. Homeownership is one of the most practical ways to build intergenerational wealth in the United States, and historically, Black Washington residents faced far greater restrictions to homeownership than white residents. Currently, more than one in every five Black Washington residents live below the poverty line, compared to less than one in every 10 white residents.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.