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Financial security, too, still differs dramatically by race. In 2018 black households earned $57.30 for every
$100 in income earned by white families. And for every $100 in white family wealth, black families held just
Muhiydin Moye D’Baha of the Black Lives Matter movement, uses a bull horn to make a point during a news
conference with North Charleston Police and Government officials in North Charleston, South Carolina April 8,
2015. Demonstrators rallied on
Wednesday against what they
described as a culture of police
brutality in South Carolina in the
of white officer Michael Slager,
was caught on video killing 50yearold Walter Scott, a black man, by
shooting him in the back as Scott
away after a traffic stop. Slager
charged on Tuesday with murder
death of Scott. Photo by Randall
Another troubling aspect about
social progress – or the lack
thereof – is how many black
families are headed by single
women. In the 1960s, unmarried women were the main breadwinners for 20% of households. In recent years, the
percentage has risen as high as 72%.
This is important, but not because of some outmoded
sexist ideal of the family. In the U.S., as across the
Americas, there’s a powerful connection
between poverty and female-headed households.
Black Americans today are also more dependent on
government aid than they were in 1968. About 40% of
African-Americans are poor enough to qualify
for welfare, housing assistance and other government
programs that offer modest support to families living
under the poverty line.
That’s higher than any other U.S. racial group.
Just 21% of Latinos, 18% Asian-Americans and 17%
of whites are on welfare.
Finding the bright spots
There are, of course, positive trends. Today, far more African-Americans graduate from college – 38 percent –
than they did 50 years ago.