In this section, you can find statistics on economic inequality. Please use the tab menu below to access statistics on racial inequality, including differences in poverty levels, income, and unemployment as well as discrepancies in unionization rates.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014, Table B-2.
Poverty by racial groups over time, 1962-2014
This image illustrates the percentage in poverty from 1962 to 2014 between racial groups. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) uses dollar value thresholds that vary by family size and type to conclude who is in poverty. These thresholds are updated for each year to reflect inflation by utilizing the Consumer Price Index. The data for each racial group starts when it was first collected by the OMB and Census Bureau. What we observe is that non-Hispanic whites consistently have a higher percentage of people in poverty, over a 5 point difference, compared to other racial groups. We also see that Hispanics in poverty have been increasing over time since the early 1970s.
Poverty by racial groups 18 to 64 years of age, 1974-2014
We compiled the percentage in poverty within each racial group for people between 18 to 64 years of age. Data on poverty by age started being gathered in 1974 around the same time Latinos/Hispanics started to be included in Census tracks. We are observing more fluctuation and variance with Asians overtime due to a smaller population size and sample. Although non-Hispanic whites and blacks leveled off in the last image, we are able to observe that when broken down by mid-range age, the percentage of their respective populations in poverty steadily grows over time.
Poverty by racial groups 65 years of age and older, 1974-2014
Here, we illustrate the percentage of people over 65 years of age, by racial group, that are in poverty over time since 1974. Over 15 percent of non-Hispanic whites over the age of 65 were in poverty until 1979, which then leveled off to under 13 percent starting in 1987. Regardless of the variance due to the small sample, we can see that Asians over the age of 65 have been steadily increasing into poverty by over 5 points since 1987.
Poverty by racial groups under 18 years of age, 1974-2014
This graph demonstrates the percentage of people under 18 years of age living in poverty by racial group. People under 18 years of age, according to the OMB, are considered the children related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption who are not themselves the householder. Here, we observe a steady decline for all groups under the age of 18 over time beginning in 1974. Although the percentage of all groups between 18 to 64 seems to be increasing over time, their children seem to be getting out of poverty simultaneously.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, Table H-1. For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and definitions, see ftp://ftp2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/techdocs/cpsmar15.pdf
Quintile of Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites – 1967 vs. 1990
This graph illustrates the income by quintile for blacks, Hispanics, and whites. Data on income for blacks and whites was initially collected in 1967, while income data for Hispanics did not become available until 1972. The bars for each quintile represent when data for each respective group was first collected and income quintile statistics for 1990 in real dollars. In 1990, the first, second, and third quintiles for blacks and Hispanics have similar distributions with blacks lagging slightly behind Hispanics. However, blacks and Hispanics lag substantially behind whites in all quintiles. Whites make almost $30,000 in the first 20% of earners compared to blacks and Hispanics and more than half than blacks in the lowest quintile.
Quintile of Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites – 1990 vs. 2014
The following graph is a continuation of our previous table that extends into 2014. Here we are able to observe similar trends between blacks and Hispanics, on one hand, and whites, on the other. In 1990, 20% of blacks and Hispanics made over $69,000, while whites made close to $100,000. Keeping the same income bracket in mind for 2014, both blacks and Hispanics earned approximately $150,000 compared to whites who earned over $211,000. The different doubled from $30,000 in 1990 to $60,000 in 2014. Moreover, blacks in the lowest quintile in 2014 earned approximately as much as whites in the same income bracket in 1990.
Quintiles of Blacks, Hispanics, Whites, and Asians – 2014
Here we are illustrating the income quintiles for blacks, Hispanics, whites, and Asians in 2014. Income data on Asians by quintile was first collected in 2002 and constitute a small sample size that produce these large disparities between Asians and our three other groups.
Quintiles of individual Racial Groups
The following graphs illustrate individual racial groups by quintile from the initial collection of the data until 2014, respectively.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, (Seas) Unemployment Rate, Series ID: LNS14000000.
Unemployment rate within each racial group, 1972-2015
The graph illustrates quarterly unemployment rates for Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and whites from 1972 to 2015. Unemployment data for Hispanics and Asians was not collected until 1974 and 2002, respectively. Each racial group demonstrates similar patterns over time, however, blacks, noted with a blue line, seem to take the largest toll in unemployment reaching a height of over 20% just as Ronald Raegan took office and almost three times the unemployment rate compared to whites. We can observe a similar trend for blacks during the 2008 economic crash.