• One in nine African Americans cannot find a job. Black unemployment is more than double the white rate, 10.8% versus 5.2% in 2003 — a wider gap than in 1972.
  • The typical Black family had 60% as much income as a white family in 1968, but only 58% as much in 2002.
  • Black infants are almost two and a half times as likely as white infants to die before age one – a greater gap than in 1970. The 2001 mortality rate was 14 deaths per 1,000 live births for Black infants, and 5.7 for white infants.
  • Where progress has occurred in closing the Black-white divide, it has been so slow that it would take decades, or even centuries, at the same pace of progress for African Americans to reach parity with white Americans.
  • For every dollar of white per capita income, African Americans had 55 cents in 1968 – and only 57 cents in 2001. At this pace, it would take Blacks 581 years to get the remaining 43 cents.
  • In 2001, the typical Black household had a net worth of just $19,000 (including home equity), compared with $121,000 for whites. Blacks had 16% of the median wealth of whites, up from 5% in 1989. At this rate it will take until 2099 to reach parity in median wealth.
  • A Black high school graduate working full time from age 25 through age 64 would earn $300,000 less on average than their white counterpart during their working years. A Black college graduate would earn $500,000 less.
  • The Black poverty rate was three times greater than the white poverty rate in 2002. At the slow rate that the Black-white poverty gap has been narrowing since 1968, it would take 150 years, until 2152, to close.
  • While white homeownership has jumped from 65% to 75% of families since 1970, Black homeownership has only risen from 42% to 48%. At this rate, it would take 1,664 years to close the homeownership gap – about 55 generations.
  • If current rates of incarceration continue, one out of three African American males born today will be imprisoned at some point during their lifetimes.


  • The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. (Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.)
  • The black-white income gap is roughly 40 percent greater today than it was in 1967.
  • A black boy born today in the United States has a life expectancy five years shorter than that of a white boy.
  • Black students are significantly less likely to attend schools offering advanced math and science courses than white students. They are three times as likely to be suspended and expelled, setting them up for educational failure.
  • Because of the catastrophic experiment in mass incarceration, black men in their 20s without a high school diploma are more likely to be incarcerated today than employed, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Nearly 70 percent of middle-aged black men who never graduated from high school have been imprisoned.

Source: NYTimes Nicholas Kristof "When whites just don't get it".