All Articles Tagged "racial disparities"
In 1994, South Africa held its first elections effectively bringing an end to apartheid and putting Nelson Mandela in power. It may have been the end of the struggle for Mandela and his fellow South African freedom fighters, but it was the beginning of a new battle.
South Africa has the largest economy in Africa, and the 28th largest in the world. And the World Bank has ranked it as an upper-middle income economy. Still, about a quarter of the population is unemployed and lives on less than US $1.25 a day, according to the United Nations Development Program.
Unemployment continues to be extremely rampant across the country. The most affected are black South Africans — 80 percent of South Africans are of black African ancestry. Although many blacks have risen to middle or upper classes, the unemployment rate of blacks has increased sharply between 1994 and 2003.
Now comes just-released data that finds South African whites earn six times more than blacks. Results from the 2011 census show that nearly two decades after the end of apartheid disparities between rich and poor are growing.
“The average annual income for black households was 60,613 rand ($7,500) in 2011, according to the census, while white households earned an average of 365,134 rand ($45,600) per year,” reports Yahoo News. “The census figures on services said nearly 1.3 million households did not have access to piped water, and the majority of those households are black.”
Many people in the prosperous country still do not have proper housing. The South African Census 2011 found that there remains more than 1.2 million “informal” dwellings, including squatter camps. This does not include 712,956 shacks. And, while some 8.2 million households have flushing toilets, 748,597 households have no toilets at all.
South African President Jacob Zuma was even disheartened by the report. “These figures tell us at the bottom of the rung is the black majority who continue to be confronted by deep poverty, unemployment, and inequality, despite the progress that we have made since 1994,” he said in a statement. “Much remains to be done to further improve the livelihoods of our people especially in terms of significant disparities that still exist between the rich and poor.”
(NPR) — When Clyde Jackson’s wife took a $6 hourly pay cut several years ago, it was the beginning of his rapid descent from two-time homeowner to renter in an apartment complex in the working-class Washington, D.C., suburb of Greenbelt, Md. Jackson, 51, is an African-American father of three who works for a local government sanitation agency. In December, he lost a three-bedroom brick home to foreclosure. He purchased the house for $245,000 in 2004. He has separated from his wife and now lives in a two-bedroom apartment. Jackson had to downsize so much that his 16-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter — both from a prior relationship — were forced to share a room. “That was the biggest hurt of all,” Jackson says. “When you build up something, and then all of the sudden you lose it. Yeah, it takes a toll on you.”
(Diverse: Issues in Higher Education) — Dr. David R. Williams grew up on Saint Lucia, a Caribbean island where 80 percent of the population is Black and residential segregation has not been an issue. But it remains a big one in the United States, he maintains, and in a way not obvious to most people. “I argue that residential segregation by race is the fundamental cause of racial disparities in health in the United States,” says Williams, a professor of public health, sociology and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Williams has reached that sweeping conclusion with a sociologist’s reasoning. “Socioeconomic status is a stronger predictor of variations in health than cigarette smoking,” he says, adding that racially segregated neighborhoods come with underresourced schools, few job opportunities and depressed income levels, contributing to the lower socioeconomic status of African-American residents in particular.
(Washington Post) — The Washington region ranks first among the country’s 10 largest metropolitan areas on an index that measures life expectancy, education and income, according to a report to be released Wednesday. The region’s top score is driven in large part by the high education and income levels of whites and Asian Americans living in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, the report says. Although some of the information underscores what is generally known about the area, the report by the American Human Development Project, an initiative of the Brooklyn-based nonprofit Social Science Research Council, reveals some startling gaps in what it calls the building blocks of a good life.