AP file photo
AP file photo

In recognition of Black History Month, the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) last Thursday released an update to their 2015 report on the economic status of African Americans. The study finds that African Americans lag far behind white Americans in almost every measure of economic well-being in all 50 states.

“During Black History Month our nation celebrates the extraordinary achievements of African Americans,” CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield and JEC Ranking Democrat Carolyn B. Maloney said in a joint statement. “Our country has come a long way, and African Americans have made significant economic progress since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but so much more work remains ahead. We’ll never eliminate economic disparities based on race if Congress continues to ignore the issues facing the black community.”

Key findings of the report include:

  • The African American unemployment rate (8.8 percent) is more than twice the rate for white Americans (4.3 percent).
  • African Americans are twice as likely to live in poverty as whites – 26.2 percent compared to 12.7 percent.
  • The median income of African American households is $35,400 – nearly $25,000 less than the median income of white households ($60,300).
  • The median net worth of white households is 13 times greater than that of black households ($142,000 vs. $11,000).

Among those aged 25 and older, 36 percent of white Americans hold Bachelor’s degrees or higher compared to 22 percent of African Americans.

The JEC report also contains a chart that shows large differences between black and white unemployment over time, as well as a chart that compares median income for different races and ethnicities since 1980.