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Study: Four of the ten worst cities for African-Americans are in Illinois

Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

* HuffPo

For decades, black Americans have faced higher poverty rates, lower incomes and higher incarceration rates than white Americans. While African Americans in every U.S. city face such problems, racial inequality is much worse in some parts of the country. By examining the disparities between white and black Americans in several economic and social measures, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 10 worst cities for black Americans.

Four of the cities with the worst racial inequality are in Illinois, two are in Iowa, and all are in the Midwest. 24/7 Wall St. interviewed Valerie Wilson, director of the program on race, ethnicity, and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a progressive think tank. Wilson associated the geographical clustering of these cities to the Great Migration — the relocation of millions of African Americans from the South to cities in the North and Midwest between 1916 and 1970.

Over that period, African Americans fled from the oppressive Jim Crow policies of the South, among other forms of racism, to cities such as Chicago and New York. These areas — the Midwest in particular — were undergoing a manufacturing boom at the time, and black and other Americans sought economic opportunities there. However, the industrial Midwestern economies have declined dramatically since 1970, and the region today is a part of what is commonly known as the Rust Belt.

The manufacturing industries in those areas offered relatively well-paying jobs to relatively uneducated people — many of whom were African American. As Wilson explained, “those industries have essentially dried up, and the opportunities are no longer there, but the people still are.”

Methodology is here. If you’re gonna talk methodology in comments, then make sure to click that link first.

* The Illinois cities

8. Kankakee, IL

    > Pct. residents black: 14.9%
    > Population: 111,375
    > Black median household income as pct. of white: 48.7%
    > Black unemployment rate: 20.6%
    > Unemployment rate, all people: 8.1%

More than one in five black workers in Kankakee is unemployed. The black unemployment rate exceeds 20% in only 16 other U.S. cities, three of them among the worst cities for African Americans. Lack of job opportunities likely contribute to a higher poverty rate among black residents. At nearly 40%, the poverty rate among black residents is not only far higher than the comparable rate for white residents of 7.3%, but also one of the highest in the nation. A typical black Kankakee household earns $31,119 annually, lower than the median annual income for black households nationwide, and less than half the median income for white Kankakee households.

6. Peoria, IL

    > Pct. residents black: 9.1%
    > Population: 379,520
    > Black median household income as pct. of white: 49.1%
    > Black unemployment rate: 16.5%
    > Unemployment rate, all people: 7.2%

Located in central Illinois, Peoria is one of the worst cities in the country for black Americans. The poverty rate of 28.2% among the city’s black population is well above the poverty rate among the city’s white residents of 10.4%. Similarly, the median annual income of $58,563 for white households is more than double the annual income of $28,777 for a typical black household.

While black Americans are about five times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts, in Illinois, they are more than eight times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. As is the case in many other U.S. cities, the incarceration rate is likely far higher in urban areas such as Peoria.

4. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

    > Pct. residents black: 16.8%
    > Population: 9,553,810
    > Black median household income as pct. of white: 50.1%
    > Black unemployment rate: 18.5%
    > Unemployment rate, all people: 7.0%

Slightly more than 7% of white Chicago area residents live in poverty, while the poverty rate for the city’s black population is nearly 30%. Similarly, while 43.7% of white adults had at least a college degree, 21.8% of black adult Chicagoans were college educated. In addition to socioeconomic racial disparities, black area residents had far higher mortality rates compared to white residents. The Chicago metro area black population leads the nation with 1,550 deaths per 100,000 African Americans in a year, versus the mortality rate for white Chicagoans of 713 per 100,000 white people.

Chicago is one of the nation’s most diverse cities. It is also one of the nation’s most segregated, however, and in the city’s neighborhoods there is little racial diversity. Wilson explained that outcomes worsen for anyone — black or white — living under poor socioeconomic conditions. However, she added, not only do black urban dwellers suffer more under such conditions, but also racial inequality and segregation are themselves harmful to communities.

2. Rockford, IL

    > Pct. residents black: 11.1%
    > Population: 342,411
    > Black median household income as pct. of white: 44.2%
    > Black unemployment rate: 28.9%
    > Unemployment rate, all people: 8.3%

Located less than 100 miles northwest of Chicago, Rockford is home to about 342,400 people. Rockford is struggling economically. The area’s unemployment rate of 8.3% is more than 2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate of 6.2%. While poor economic conditions affect everyone, the city’s black population has been hit the hardest.

Of the 201 metro areas examined, the median income of $22,651 among black households in Rockford is lower than in all but 10 other cities and significantly lower than the $51,264 median income among white households. Even more astounding, 28.9% of the city’s black working population is unemployed, a larger share than in any other city in the country. The poverty rate among the city’s black residents is 43.1%, over four times the city’s white poverty rate.

Milwaukee was first.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

52 Comments
  1. - Almost the Weekend - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:34 pm:

    Right when Barack Obama is ready to roll out his free trade agreement. Free trade isn’t free, Democrats and Republicans continue to sell out middle class families.


  2. - MC - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    This is sad but unsurprising. The degree of segregation seems to correlate with black poverty. In Rockford, for instance (where I used to live), the black side of town is never visited by whites. The same is true in Springfield (where I currently live). In our state capitol there isn’t so much as a gas station to provide jobs to poor, mostly African American, residents.


  3. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    I would really appreciate it if the Rauner Administration would apply itself to addressing this in a meaningful and substantial way.


  4. - Touré's Latte - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:44 pm:

    Naperville?


  5. - Sue - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    Honeybear-LOL- let’s see Rauner should do something in a meaningful way about something he has no role in causing. How about our first African American President. Please tell me you were not being serious here!


  6. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:53 pm:

    @MC

    I would agree. I saw a study a couple of years ago that had Illinois listed as the most segregated state as far as housing.


  7. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    I was being serious. I hope he does do something about it. I wasn’t saying he caused it. I was hoping his administration does something to get these cities off the list. What’s wrong with that?Cool off troll.


  8. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:58 pm:

    Sue, why was Rauner elected?


  9. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 12:58 pm:

    For instance in the Turn Around Agenda, Rauner calls for Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Entities. Where are we with that work? I’ve heard nothing about his aspirations on that.


  10. - nona - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:05 pm:

    People in the Land of Lincoln should not look down their nose at Mississippi and Alabama. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said he had never experienced hatred more virulent than in Chicago.


  11. - Downstate - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    Interesting timing of this report. It ties, in some sense, with an article on the one thing that all the recent mass shooters had in common……none came from an intact family.
    From the article:
    Children of single mothers are:
    1. More likely to experiment with drugs
    2. More likely to drop out of school
    3. Have a greater chance to witness domestic violence, and repeat such behavior.

    There are no men, currently on death row, that grew up in an intact home.

    Here’s the article:
    http://thebullelephant.com/what-do-all-the-mass-shooters-have-in-common-no-father-in-the-home/

    The answer for these cities is to find meaningful employment, of course, but the focus on keeping families intact is equally critical.


  12. - Niblets - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    For a painful look at how this has happened read
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/
    MacArthur genius grant awardee Coates spells it out chapter and verse.


  13. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:35 pm:

    Other variables are involved here. I am not even sure what the point is. Do we blame a brick and mortar city? An inanimate object? Do we blame the policies of “big city” mayors? A political party?

    Intact families and education. Those are worthy goals, IMO.

    Bringing up MLKs 50 year old comments about Chicago might make you feel empowered but it hardly explains the current state of affairs.


  14. - Been There - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:35 pm:

    ==== let’s see Rauner should do something in a meaningful way about something he has no role in causing====
    You could scroll down to see the story about the cuts to the IL day care program.


  15. - Phil T. - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    A couple of things to keep in mind just for perspective: African-Americans who live in the South and the border states are less well off economically, but they mostly live in rural settings and therefore aren’t part of this study. Illinois has the largest African-American percentage of population outside of the South/border states.


  16. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:49 pm:

    Sorry you don’t know enough history and current events to decide who is to blame for segregation, divestment, and poverty, Dupage Dan.

    Unfortunately, your inability to apportion blame to your personal satisfaction doesn’t actually make the problem disappear.


  17. - Anon - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    Pretty sure Rauner is trying to do something about it. the study points to a direct correlation between loss of manufacturing business/lack of job opportunities and the racial inequality in these cities. Rauner is trying to bring back opportunities and manufacturing…


  18. - DuPage Bard - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:50 pm:

    All cities in the Midwest. Not what I would have thought.


  19. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:06 pm:

    ==- dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:35 pm:==

    Why are you so resistant to pay the costs for good education?


  20. - Almost the Weekend - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:11 pm:

    Rich is there any way to see where Decatur and Rock Island ranked? When I read the headline I was expecting to see at least one of these cities with their previous booming manufacturering sectors. I’m happy they are not on the list, but I would be interested to see how they compared to the four Illinois cities on the list.


  21. - poormanwalking - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:12 pm:

    It’s sad. What can we do? It seems all the programs don’t work and there are only a few that benefit from them. Just sad.


  22. - Glenn - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:13 pm:

    Consider that the rate of unemployment is measured at a given percent when the number of people who gain employment is the same number as those who lose employment. Those who gain employment are not necessarily the same people who lose employment.

    The percentage of those who have lost employment during the limiting time (beyond which people are not considered to be part of the workforce) is likely to be much larger than the rate of unemployment in an economy with high rate of turnover.

    I am curious about how many people have lost an income during the limiting period, and also how many are no longer considered a member of the workforce, and so not included in the unemployment rate.

    This must have a big impact on the default rate on loans held by low wage earning people, since they are more likely to default on loans than do without heat, food, shelter, etc., when they have no income.

    And low wage earning people are more likely to buy on high interest credit and accrue debt rather than be able to pay cash to get through times without an income.


  23. - jknell - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    Nona, this is so frustrating. How many generations have passed since 1970 - the end of the Great Migration? It’s 45 years or about half a long lifetime.

    The Great Migration is part of who we are in Chicago and through Illinois. We have made considerable progress, learned a whole lot, and we should finish the job of ending poverty for everyone. In the end, it will cost a lot less than continuing B.S.

    State government has an obvious role to play in this so the sooner we are done with Rauner fantasies the better.


  24. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:19 pm:

    Back twenty years ago when I lived in the burbs, my coworkers and I used to kid that Naperville won its War on Poverty by pricing its homes upwards of a quarter of a million dollars.


  25. - Good to Know - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:26 pm:

    =I would really appreciate it if the Rauner Administration would apply itself to addressing this in a meaningful and substantial way.=

    I’m sure you’ll be the first to support the Governor’s workers’ comp reforms to lower costs for the manufacturing companies that avoid Illinois metropolises like the plague.

    Or right-to-work, for that matter. That certainly will produce lower wages, but I’m not sure the 29% of black people in Rockford who are unemployed would argue with a job.


  26. - Different Strokes - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:34 pm:

    Wisconsin has an African American population which is much smaller than that in Illinois, but the prison population there resembles ours.

    The killing fields and shooting galleries in Milwaukee are on the city’s North side which is primarily African American. It is not unlike the rough places on the South and West sides of Chicago.

    Sad, but not uncommon in the inner city.


  27. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:43 pm:

    === - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:06 pm:

    ==- dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:35 pm:==

    Why are you so resistant to pay the costs for good education? ==

    “Intact families and education. Those are worthy goals, IMO”

    Please point out where I said I am resistant to paying the cost of a good education.


  28. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:44 pm:

    Looking at the methodology, the conclusions of the study don’t bear any relationship to its headline: “Worst Cities for Black Americans.”

    They’re measuring the gap between white and black. That’s fine.

    But that doesn’t mean blacks in Youngstown, OH, or Monroe, LA, or Birmingham, AL are better off than those in Chicago, Peoria, et. al. It just means whites and blacks in those cities are equally broke, so no such gap exists.

    Seriously, when you read the headline, weren’t you all wondering how cities like Gary, Flint, Camden, Memphis and Jackson didn’t make the list?

    City-data.com has a list of the 101 American cities over 50K with the highest poverty rates. Chicago comes in at 87, Peoria at 93.

    Surprisingly, despite a merciful and cleansing flood of Old Testament proportions 10 years ago that was the envy of certain deep thinkers, New Orleans has the seventh highest poverty rate of U.S. cities.


  29. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 2:47 pm:

    ===

    - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 1:49 pm:

    Sorry you don’t know enough history and current events to decide who is to blame for segregation, divestment, and poverty, Dupage Dan.

    Unfortunately, your inability to apportion blame to your personal satisfaction doesn’t actually make the problem disappear ===

    Apportioning blame never educated on single child. There is plenty of info on the web about who is at fault. I doubt much more needs to be discussed, frankly. What is needed now is a practical look at how to interrupt the never ending misery. If you think rehashing the blame game will do anything about that, by all means, blame away. I’m not the one in trouble so it won’t hurt me one whit.


  30. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:03 pm:

    Ferguson Missouri learned the hard way that if you want representation from local officials, you have to vote. When you vote en masses you have their attention and maybe even get someone who represents you in a position of authority.


  31. - The Historian - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:03 pm:

    Wordslinger’s point is the important one. I’m an academic, so I have some familiarity with this stuff, & what Word has said is much more on point than some of the previous churlishness……


  32. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:05 pm:

    – Tnere is plenty of info on the web of who is at fault. I doubt much more needs to be discussed.–

    That has to win something.


  33. - Casual observer - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:07 pm:

    Anonymous 3:03 was me.


  34. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:11 pm:

    That’s “one single child”, not “on single child”.


  35. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:16 pm:

    In their methodology statement they use “MSAs” and “cities” interchangeably, which obviously they aren’t. No wonder Kankakee, Peoria, and Rockford seemed to have grown by so much.


  36. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    Try ‘the google’ Danny, it does a boy good.

    https://www.google.com/#q=site:capitolfax.com+%22dupage+dan%22+%22education+funding%22

    https://capitolfax.com/2010/05/27/analysis-budget-hole-tops-7-billion/


  37. - James Taylor sr. - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:27 pm:

    As a resident of Kankakee and publisher of a black owned weekly since July 2, 1972 I agree race issues here are poor. Even among my fellow Republicans the race divide is a sad thing most seem to think we are 1950’s America! the young blacks leave the town as soon as they can and over fifty percent do not finish high school. Obama once visited here before elected and has never looked this way again as a result the Trump for President group has many black supporters.


  38. - nixit71 - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:28 pm:

    ==Why are you so resistant to pay the costs for good education?==

    Because we already do. More money does not mean better results. Nationally, charter schools spend $1800 less per pupil than their public school counterparts yet outperform them. Internationally, USA outspends most other countries yet under-performs. So it seems there is plenty of room to do more with what we already have.

    http://urbancharters.stanford.edu/download/Urban%20Charter%20School%20Study%20Report%20on%2041%20Regions.pdf


  39. - DonaldTrump - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:30 pm:

    ==== let’s see Rauner should do something in a meaningful way about something he has no role in causing====
    You could scroll down to see the story about the cuts to the IL day care program.

    Don’t have babies you can’t afford. Problem solved. Boom!


  40. - James Taylor sr. - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:38 pm:

    Thank you Rich for this information as I always felt it true here in Kankakee but seeing in print from you makes it more true somehow. God has blessed me and my newspaper but the blight on people of color here still hurts deeply and the lack of raising issues of discrimination can only be explained by the fact of a weak NAACP and a questionable white daily. There Are two towns in Kankakee County, Bourbonnais and Bradley which have never hired a person of color since incorporation in the 1800’s!


  41. - anon - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:04 pm:

    So MC, you are saying there are no gas stations in Springfield where blacks can work. Funny, I go to Motomart at 6th and South Grand and have great conversations with black workers. There are gas stations on the East side.

    The city has experienced sprawl to the West, those things happen.


  42. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:57 pm:

    ===

    - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    Try ‘the google’ Danny, it does a boy good. ==

    Wow, you must have some time on your hands. However, there was nothing in that post which indicates I am resistant to paying for the costs of a good education. I believe in pay as you go - not promise everything and then whine when there isn’t enough revenue on hand. 5 years ago there was much that could be cut. And much has been cut. Now that more revenue is needed, neither side is willing to step up and be the ones to push that idea.

    But, thanks for the trip down memory lane. It is nice to see that I appear as consistent as I think I am.


  43. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 7:49 pm:

    Don’t have babies you can’t afford. Problem solved. Boom!

    Wow, DonaldTrump , I think that’s pretty bad. That’s quite a racist statement. Examine it for a bit.


  44. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 7:51 pm:

    Sorry, anonymous 7:49 was me. I called you racist DonaldTrump. I just wanted to make that clear.


  45. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 9:06 pm:

    Wordslinger, good catch on the headline not matching the narrative.
    Our tax system and method of funding healthcare provide financial incentives to offshore labor. Shift funding social security from a tax on labor to an excise tax on consumption and you cut the cost of American labor. Health care is tied to work, again driving up the cost of labor. Given the way health insurance is priced, the cost to insure a $40,000 per year employee is the same as a $100,000 per year employee.


  46. - a modest proposal - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 9:34 pm:

    These areas all have democratic representatives and had democratic governors for 12 years. doesn’t seem like the dems are really representing black people well…


  47. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 8:37 am:

    a modest proposal, not only that but many of these areas are the hotbeds of corruption. I can vouch for that in the metro east. Vulnerable populations are easier to take advantage of.


  48. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 11:57 am:

    ==- dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:57 pm:==

    Words, how do they work? Your only consistency has been hostility to school funding reform including more revenue.


  49. - Questioner5000 - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 1:39 pm:

    The study notes; “The manufacturing industries in those areas offered relatively well-paying jobs to relatively uneducated people — many of whom were African American.”

    To a large extent, those jobs have left the Midwest, whether they were replaced by automation, went overseas, went to non-union/right-to-work states, or are simply the victims of globalization, (wherein other countries now produce the products - - like autos - - in which the U.S. used to have a dominant role.

    So, what happened to the children of those “well-paid, relatively uneducated” workers? Did they stay in high school and graduate, then go on to higher education? Did they demonstrate needed work habits like showing up on time? Did they stay out of trouble with the law? Did their families stay “whole” and provide support for their children?

    I know … I know. Some will claim that all of these bad decisions are the result of poverty and racism. But maybe there are other factors at work here. Maybe well-meaning entitlement programs discouraged the type of striving that a sizeable portion of the minority community now recognizes is necessary to succeed in the current environment.

    Minorities are not pre-destined for failure - - we’ve seen many examples of hardworking, well-educated minorities disproving that. But taking the easy shortcuts in life will only prolong the struggle outlined in the article.


  50. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    ===

    - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 11:57 am:

    ==- dupage dan - Tuesday, Oct 6, 15 @ 4:57 pm:==

    Words, how do they work? Your only consistency has been hostility to school funding reform including more revenue ===

    He says without posting any of my words.


  51. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 2:32 pm:

    -But maybe there are other factors at work here. Maybe well-meaning entitlement programs discouraged the type of striving that a sizeable portion of the minority community now recognizes is necessary to succeed in the current environment.-

    Questioner5000- really excellent comment. In response, there are a million factors going on. Poverty is incredibly incredibly complex. Unfortunately the extremely well designed and well tested programs (not merely well intentioned), programs that were working when properly funded, are being dismantled and defunded. The irony is that many many if not most “welfare to work” programs were the brainchilds of folks on the right side of the house. Welfare reform although instituted by Clinton was backed by the right. So in a sense the things that were working are no longer because of the current campaign by folks like Arduin. Not saying it’s the biggest factor but the one that may prove to unravel the whole net. Thanks for your thoughtful response.


  52. - Sarah - Wednesday, Oct 7, 15 @ 2:33 pm:

    One could have foreseen this report and rankings living in Rockford over the past 3 decades. Yes, the west is virtually untouched by development, jobs, supportive services and even shopping. How long does it take the locals to understand they cannot just bury 1/3th of the population and hope everything goes happily unnoticed. Reaction in Rockford is to complain about increased crime (which is mostly property so that says something about the poverty level) and try to jail everyone who looks dangerous. I wonder what the correlation is between the poverty rates and the incarceration or involvement in the criminal justice system is for the America-American populations in each of these towns? I bet it is a lot closer than elsewhere.


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