Incomes Rise But the Stubborn Racial Income Gap Persists

p60-256-copyThe U.S. Census Bureau has released its annual report on income and poverty in the United States. According to data in the report, the median income of Black households in the United States in 2015 was $36,898. The median income figure shows the point where half of all families earn below this level and half earn above this level. For non-Hispanic White households in 2015, the median income figure was $62,950. Thus, the median income level for Black households was 58.6 percent of the median income for non-Hispanic White households. With only minor fluctuations, the racial gap in median income has remained virtually unchanged for the past 45 years.

In releasing the data, the government touted the fact that real median income increased for the first time since 2007, before the major recession of 2008. But it failed to point out that despite the overall gains in income, the racial income gap actually increased by a slight amount over the past year.

It is also important to look at the racial gap in income at the highest levels. These families are ones that can afford to send their children to the college of their choice without having to worry about financial aid or student loans. Some 6.9 percent of non-Hispanic White households in 2014 had incomes above $200,000. For Black households, 2.3 percent had incomes of more than $200,000. Thus, Whites are three times as likely as Blacks to come from high-income households.

The full report, Income and Poverty in the United States, 2015, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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