Extreme racial inequality in Wisconsin

August 15, 2016

This report, issued just over a week ago, provides some background for the uprising that erupted in Milwaukee this weekend, following yet another fatal police shooting of a young African-American man. --PG

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Wisconsin named worst state for black Americans
Milwaukee Business Journal

Aug 5, 2016

Dan Shafer Reporter Milwaukee Business Journal

A new report says that with lower median annual income, higher unemployment and lower college graduation rates, Wisconsin is the worst state for black Americans with the country's biggest gap between black and white Americans.

In a new report, financial news and opinion website 24/7 Wall St. listed all 50 states on metrics of black and white inequality. Wisconsin topped the list, joining other Midwest states Iowa (#10), Illinois (#5) and Minnesota (#2) in the top 10.

Milwaukee County is home to more than 240,000 African-Americans, which is 69 percent of Wisconsin's total African-American population. Nearly 90 percent of Wisconsin's black population lives in six Wisconsin counties: Milwaukee, Dane, Racine, Kenosha, Rock and Waukesha, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Here is some of the information used to show Wisconsin as the worst for black Americans:

  • The median annual income of black households in Wisconsin is just$26,053, much lower than the median for black families nationwide and equal to just 46.5 percent the median income of white Wisconsinhouseholds of $56,083.
  • While 29.9 percent of white adults in Wisconsin have at least a bachelor's degree, 12.8 percent of black adults in the state have completed college. This is also much lower than the bachelor degree attainment rate among black adults nationwide of 19.7 percent.
  • For black Wisconsin residents, the unemployment rate is 11.1 percent — higher than the national unemployment rate for all black Americans, and far higher than the white unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in Wisconsin.

Compared with white people in the United States, 24/7 Wall St. reports that African-Americans are considerably less likely to own their homes, twice as likely to be unemployed, nearly three times as likely to live in poverty and five times more likely to go to prison. 24/7 Wall St.'s report also looks at segregation, incarceration and education.

24/7 Wall St. constructed the index using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Prison Policy Initiative, a Massachusetts-based think tank, the Sentencing Project and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

See the full report and methodology here.

Dan Shafer is a reporter covering manufacturing and the travel and tourism industries for the Milwaukee Business Journal.