A Dream Deferred? State Of Black Men No Better Than In 1970s
It’s the ultimate question. Are you better off today than yesterday? And for most African-American men the answer not only is “no,” but in some cases they are worse off.
According to a new study by researchers Derek Neal and Armin Rick when comparing African-American men to their white counterparts, blacks are no better off than they were in 1970. What the pair found was that employment rates fell twice as much for black men as whites from 1970 through 2010, reports The Daily Beast. According to the authors, high rates of incarceration were linked to low employment rates, especially for less educated men. States the study, by 2010, “the institutionalization rate among black, male high-school dropouts ages 25-29 was almost one-third and the employment rate for this group was less than one-fourth.”
Neal and Rick report their findings in the paper “The Prison Boom and the Lack of Black Progress after Smith and Welch.”
What Neal and Rick is a major setback from what a a notable 1989 paper by economists James Smith and Finis Welch declared. They found that between 1940 and 1980, African-Americans made great strides in relation to whites in regards to education, occupational prestige and income.
“Since then, however, progress has stalled and may even have reversed, especially for men. Between 1970 and 2010, employment rates fell more than twice as much for black men as for white men; in 2010, the authors find, more than a third of black men ages 25 to 49 were either unemployed or not in the labor force,” reports FiveThirtyEight.
Incarceration rates increased for all groups, but since black men are more likely to be incarcerated, the upward trend had a much greater impact on the black community.
“On any given day in 2010, almost one in ten black men ages 20-39 were institutionalized, and rates of institutionalization were actually slightly higher among black men in 2000. Further, because turnover among prison populations is quite high, these results suggest that far more than ten percent of prime age black men will serve some time in prison or jail during a given calendar year,” write Neal and Rick, who used Census data from 1960 to 2010 through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series; National Corrections Reporting Program.