Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Blacks in the U.S.: 50 Years after the Moynihan Report


A recent piece in The Economist discusses persistent U.S. racial inequalities, 50 years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan's famous (infamous?) 1965 report. Among other things, blacks in the U.S. have much lower life expectancy, much greater rates of homicide and incarceration, and much less social mobility than do whites.
Fifty years later, black America still fares badly on many of the predictors of success and signals of distress that concerned Moynihan. If it were a separate country, it would have a worse life expectancy than Mexico, a worse homicide rate than Ivory Coast and a higher proportion of its citizens behind bars than anywhere on earth (see interactive). This is despite the fact that, overall, America is home to the richest, most successful population of black African descent that the world has ever seen.
The above graph shows the rise in both black and white out of wedlock births since 1965. The chart below shows how blacks have much less "social mobility" (specifically, mobility between income quintiles) than do whites:

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