LatinaLista – The National Urban League celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and like it has for the past 34 years, released their annual “State of Black America” (SOBA).
The SOBA traditionally features the Equality Index — a black-white comparison of how blacks in America are faring compared to whites. This year, for the first time, the National Urban League included a Hispanic Equality Index — comparing Hispanics with whites.
“The 2010 Hispanic Equality Index stands at 75.5%. The indexes for each of the categories are 61% in economics, 62.4% in social justice, 71.9% in civic engagement, 76.5% in education and 103.4% in health.”
The patterns of inequality for blacks and Hispanics relative to their white counterparts are similar in some ways, yet quite different in others.
Economics and social justice are the two areas with the greatest inequality for both groups, however, blacks are most equal to whites in civic engagement (102% for blacks and 71.9% for Hispanics) while Hispanics are most equal in health (103.4% for Hispanics and 72.9% for blacks).
Other significant findings of the Equality Index are:
Less than half of black and Hispanic families own a home (47.4% and 49.1%) compared to three quarters of white families. Blacks and Hispanics are more than three times as likely as whites to live below poverty.
Disparities in economic opportunity and health-care are reflected in the childhood obesity epidemic among minority populations – among black children ages 6- 11, 18.6% of boys and 24% of girls are overweight and among Hispanic children, it is 27.5% for boys and 19.7% for girls. For white children, the corresponding numbers are 15.5% for boys and 14.4% for girls.
For the population over 25, whites are more than one and a half times as likely as blacks and two and a half times likely as Hispanics to hold a bachelor’s degree.
Hispanics have a dropout rate of 26.2% among 18-24 year olds compared to 13% for blacks and 10.8% for whites.
2008 data indicates that blacks are six times more likely and Hispanics are three times more likely than whites to be incarcerated.
The SOBA is not just full of gloomy news. Its authors do propose a series of solutions.
However, the main message remains that any lasting solutions have to be adopted by all parties, so that inequities are diminished and every American child starts life on an equal footing.