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National Urban League says state of Black America is grim


The National Urban League released its annual report on the State of Black America on Tuesday, and its findings are grim. This year’s Equality Index shows Black people still get only 73.9 percent of the American pie White people enjoy, reports Associated Press.

While Blacks have made economic and health gains, they’ve slipped farther behind Whites in education, social justice and civic engagement since this index was launched in 2005. A compendium of average outcomes by race in many aspects of life, it shows just how hard it is for people of color to overcome systemic racism, the civil rights organization says.

“These numbers change so little and so slowly. What it tells me is that this institutional disparity based on race seems to be built into American society,” National Urban League President Marc Morial said in an interview.

The index shows not only that median household income for Black people, at $43,862, is 37 percent less than that of White people, at $69,823. Black people also are less likely to benefit from home ownership, the engine of generational wealth in America.

Census data shows Black couples are more than twice as likely as Whites to be denied a mortgage or a home improvement loan, which leads to just 59 percent of the median home equity White households have, and just 13 percent of their wealth.

“In that area of wealth, we’ve seen almost no change, none, since the civil rights days,” Morial said. “The wealth disparity has gotten wider.”

Among dozens of health measures, one stands out: Life expectancy has declined slightly for African-Americans, so a Black child born today can expect to live to 74.7, four years less than a White baby. And lifelong inequities loom: Black women are 59 percent more likely to die as a result of bearing a child, and 31 percent more likely to die of breast cancer. Black men are 52 percent more likely to die of prostate cancer.

Overdoses afflict the races about equally, while White people are 55 percent more likely to drink themselves to death through cirrhosis or chronic liver disease. Among people 15-24, White people are more than twice as likely to commit suicide, while Black men are nine times more likely to die by homicide.