Census Bureau Report Shows That the Racial Gap in Median Income Is Widening

The U.S. Census Bureau has released its annual report on income in the United States. According to data in the report, the median income of Black households in the United States in 2018 was $41,361. This is up from $40,258 in 2017. 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 2018, the median income figure was $70,642, up from $68,145 in 2017. So while income levels increased for both Black and White households, the increase was more for Whites than for Blacks. Thus, the racial income gap widened. The median income level for Black households in 2017 was 59.1 percent of the median income for non-Hispanic White households. In 2018, the median Black family income was 58.6 percent of the median income for White families. Two years earlier, the Black median income was 60.7 percent of the median income of non-Hispanic White households. With only minor fluctuations, the racial gap in median income has remained virtually unchanged for nearly a half-century.

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 9.9 percent of non-Hispanic White households in 2018 had incomes above $200,000. For Black households, 3.2 percent had incomes of more than $200,000. Thus, Whites are more than three times as likely as Blacks to come from high-income households.

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