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Report: Median Income for Black Households Rises

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by Frederick H. Lowe

Median income for African-American households rose 3.5 % from 2011 to 2013 as the Great Recession has waned, The Nielsen Company recently reported.

“Real median household income increased more among African-American households (+$793) than among white households (+$433) and more than the total population, according the U.S. Census, Nielsen reported in its Diverse Intelligence Series. The report is titled “Increasingly Affluent, Educated and Diverse:  African-American Consumers:  The Untold Story:2015 Report.”

The Great Recession was a major financial setback for African-American households.

According to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research (the official arbiter of U.S. recessions), the U.S. recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. In the months during and after the Great Recession, blacks suffered a dramatic increase in unemployment and a staggering loss in income, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based non-partisan think tank.

As a result, median net worth of black households plummeted.

Before the Great Recession, median net worth of white households was $134,280, compared with $13,450 for black households, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by the EPI.

In 2009, two years after the Great Recession ended the median net worth for white households fell 24 percent to $97,860; the median black net worth fell 83 percent to $2,170, EPI reported.

The report noted, however, the percentage of African Americans who earned more than $50,000 increased from 30% in 2005 to 36% in 2013 and those who earned more than $75,000 increased from 15% in 2005 to 20% in 2013.

“At every income level above $60,000 per household, black income growth outpaced that of non-Hispanic whites,” the report said. “In the years from 2005 to 2013 the income bracket with the largest increase for black households occurred on the number of households earning over $200,000 with an increase of 138%, compared to an increase of 74% for the total population.”

Despite the improvement in median income for African-American households, the gap between white and black households remains wide, EPI reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a report titled “Impact of the US Housing Crisis on the Racial Wealth Gap Across Generations” and published in June that white households have rebounded from the effects of the Great Recession, but black households are still struggling to make up for lost ground.

Black household income is projected to continue as larger numbers of African Americans join workforce for the first time or move up from entry-level jobs as they age, Nielsen reported.


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