May 14, 2008

Black-White Income Gap

43%

That’s the proportion of African Americans who say that the income gap between whites and blacks has widened over the last decade.

Blacks are evenly divided on the question whether the gap in the standard of living of between whites and blacks in America has gotten wider in the past decade — 43% say the black-white gap has grown wider; 41% say it has gotten narrower. By contrast, three times more whites (61%) say the black/white gap has narrowed than say it has widened (19%). Black perceptions on this issue are more in line with the facts. Figures from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey show that over the course of the past 30 years, the gap between black median household income and white median household income has narrowed only slightly and, in recent years, has expanded somewhat. In 2006, black median household income was 61% of white median household income; back in 1976, black median household income was 58% of white median household income. However, black median household income had risen to 65% of white median household income at the end of the 1990s, before dropping back a bit after the turn of the new century. In short, over the course of the past decade, the black-white income gap narrowed for a period of years and then widened for a period of years — returning in 2006 to about the same place it had been in 1997. Read More