At this year’s Heman Sweatt Symposium panel, the Future of Black Life in Austin (you can read about and listen to it here), Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) director King Davis gave the audience a glimpse of sobering statistics related to African Americans in Texas. This week, IUPRA released more a more detailed report.
A press release described a significant decline in the economic status of African Americans in Texas during the first decade of the 21st century:
The economic toll is greatest among African American single mothers.
Among the findings:
- Among all racial groups in Texas, African Americans had the lowest median household income (about $29,000 to $36,000). The figures for whites far exceeded African Americans and Hispanics, while Asians had the highest median household income levels.
- The most pervasive poverty was experienced among African Americans living in East Texas, where median incomes are below $25,000. Central Texas, much of South Texas and the counties around Houston and Dallas had, on average, slightly higher median incomes ranging between $25,000 and $32,000 in 2000 and $32,000 to 39,000 in 2010.
- Five Texas counties with an African American population of more than 5,000 — Hunt, Grass, Walker, Jasper and Wharton — experienced income decline in 2010.
- More than 70 percent of African American female-headed households were in poverty.
- African Americans’ income growth increased at a much slower rate than the white population’s. And their median household income remained at a lower level than those of Hispanics, whites, Asians and the average of all racial groups.
- African Americans and Hispanics were highly overrepresented among Texas’ poor population, while whites were highly underrepresented.
King Davis, professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and IUPRA director, says the report addresses the need for antipoverty policies and programs for African Americans.
“The state’s favorable economic condition continues to bypass these communities and families,” Davis says. “Dr. Gupta’s findings make it clear that unless changes are made soon, the quality of life for black families will decline for the remainder of the decade.”
The Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis, along with the African and African Diaspora Studies Department and the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, comprise the three branches of Black Studies in the College of Liberal Arts. To read this and other IUPRA policy briefs, go to the IUPRA website.