Special Report

The Worst Cities for Black Americans

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20. Champaign-Urbana, IL
> Black population: 28,107 (12.4% of total)
> Black median income: $31,406 (50.7% of white income)
> Unemployment: 10.9% (Black); 3.7% (white)
> Homeownership rate: 24.4% (Black); 63.7% (white)

The Champaign-Urbana metro area of Illinois ranks as one of the worst places for Black Americans. This is in large part because of the economic disparities between Black and white residents. The area’s Black unemployment rate of 10.9% is nearly three times higher than the white unemployment rate of 3.7%.

White area residents also earn nearly twice as much as Black residents — the median household income for Black residents is $31,406, compared to the $61,910 for white households.

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19. Fargo, ND-MN
> Black population: 12,124 (5.0% of total)
> Black median income: $32,707 (47.4% of white income)
> Unemployment: 12.3% (Black); 2.2% (white)
> Homeownership rate: 8.4% (Black); 59.9% (white)

About one in nine Fargo residents, or 11.1%, live in poverty. Just 8.8% of white area residents live below the poverty line, compared to 37.5% of Black area residents who do — one of the largest disparities among all U.S. metro areas.

The homeownership rate among white Fargo residents is nearly 60%. The homeownership rate among Black area residents is one of the lowest of all cities, at 8.4%. For context, the overall U.S. homeownership rate is 64% — 69.5% for white Americans and 41.8% for Black Americans.

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18. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY
> Black population: 63,372 (7.2% of total)
> Black median income: $32,599 (43.2% of white income)
> Unemployment: 11.5% (Black); 3.8% (white)
> Homeownership rate: 24.6% (Black); 68.9% (white)

The Albany metro area of New York has one of the largest income disparities between white and Black residents. The median income for Black households is $32,599, less than half of the median for white households of $75,473.

Black Albany residents are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as white residents. The metro area’s Black unemployment rate is 11.5%, compared to the area’s white unemployment rate of 3.8%. This may be one of the reasons why the white poverty rate is relatively low, at 7.7%, while the Black poverty rate is high, at 27.9%.

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17. San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA
> Black population: 333,087 (7.1% of total)
> Black median income: $53,710 (43.3% of white income)
> Unemployment: 9.3% (Black); 3.8% (white)
> Homeownership rate: 33.7% (Black); 59.2% (white)

The San Francisco metro area is the one place in the Western U.S. to rank among the worst cities for Black Americans. The area is relatively affluent and healthy, but there are significant gaps in income and health measures between white and Black residents.

In the Bay Area, as it is commonly known, the age-adjusted mortality rate for white residents is among the best at just 571 deaths per 100,000 residents. The rate is more than 50% higher for Black residents, at 860 deaths per 100,000. The Black median household income in the area, at $53,710, is relatively high when compared to the national median for Black households. Still, the median income for white households is more than $70,000 higher, at $124,066.

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16. Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ
> Black population: 37,289 (14.0% of total)
> Black median income: $35,759 (47.0% of white income)
> Unemployment: 13.0% (Black); 6.4% (white)
> Homeownership rate: 38.5% (Black); 76.4% (white)

Black residents of the Atlantic City metro area are much more likely to struggle economically than white residents. The area’s Black unemployment rate of 13.0% is more than double the white unemployment rate of 6.4%. The median annual median income among Black households of $35,759 is also less than half the median of white households, which is just over $76,000.

The Atlantic City metro area is in New Jersey, a state with the largest incarceration disparity between white and Black residents. For every 100,000 white New Jersey residents, 80 are incarcerated. For every 100,000 Black residents, 1,007 are incarcerated — a 12.6 times higher incarceration rate. Nationwide, Black Americans are 4.7 times as likely to be incarcerated as white Americans.

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