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News| Race In America | Snapshot… Black Men Have Made Little Progress in A Decade

News| Race In America | Snapshot… Black Men Have Made Little Progress in A Decade

Published February 11, 2008

Posted Oct. 12, 2005 – If you take a snapshot of where Black men stood socially, economically and healthfully at the time of the first Million Man March and compared it to today, you’d see hardly any progress at all. In fact, in some areas, Black men lost ground.

Ten years ago, a million Black men (and a few women) stood on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and took a public pledge to provide for their families, support black-owned business and abandon drug use.

Yet, today, as we gather for the reunion Millions More Movement march, more Black men are out of work, in jail or suffer from chronic disease and are high school dropouts.

Here’s how the numbers play out.




  • The rate of unemployment for Blacks was twice that for Whites.
  • Some 76 percent of all White men had jobs, compared to 69 percent of all Black men.




  • Black male unemployment is still twice that of White males.
  • Between 45 and 55 percent of urban Black males are out of school and out of work.
  • About one-third of young Black males are described as belonging to the category "disconnected youth," those who are isolated and have little or no participation in the labor force.


  • One-third of all Black graduates went on to college.
  • Half of White youths ages 3-17 used a computer at schools, compared with only 35 percent of Black youth.



  • Some 37 percent of Black males are enrolled in college, compared to 44.5 percent of White males.
  • Nationwide, Black students are three times more likely than White students to be labeled mentally retarded, and twice as likely to be labeled emotionally disturbed.
  • High school drop-out rates have increased and college enrollment levels have declined for young Black men as incarceration rates have grown.
  • During the past decade, the graduation rate for Black women improved while the rate for men slipped. Currently, 56% of Black women graduate from high school, compared with 43% of Black men.
  • The college graduation rate of Black men is lower than that of any group.


  • The weekly median earnings of White male workers were more than 27 percent higher than those of their Black male counterparts.
  • Of the 4.9 million families on welfare, 39 percent was White; 37 percent Black.
  • Blacks ages 16 and over with less than a high school diploma had a poverty rate of 38 percent.


  • The Black male median income last year was 70 percent of that of White males.
  • The poverty rate for Blacks is 24.7 percent; 8.6 percent for non-Hispanic Whites.








  • The life expectancy for Black males was 65.4 years.



  • From the early 1980s, when HIV was first identified, through the start of 1995, nearly 1,800 Black males 15-24 had died from AIDS. The number of Black males between 24 and 34 who had died from the disease was 12 times higher.


  • The life expectancy for Black males is 68.8 years.
  • The mortality rate from heart disease for African-American men ages 35 to 44 is more than twice that of White men.
  • AIDS is the second leading cause of death for Black males age 30-44.
  • One of every three Blacks suffers from hypertension.
  • For every six Whites with diabetes, 10 Blacks have it.
  • The prostate cancer incidence rate among Black men is 66 percent higher than the rate in White men.
  • The death rate (per 100,000 population) for college-age Black males is nearly twice that of college-age White males.


  • Some 48 percent of the federal prison population was Black.
  • One of every four young Black men was either imprisoned, on probation, or on parole at any given moment.
  • More young Black men were in jail than in college.


  • About 44 percent of the federal prison population is black.
  • More than 25 percent of black men who are 20 years old today are likely to go to prison at some point in their lives, compared with 4.1 percent of white men of the same age.
  • Blacks comprise about half of all inmates in U.S. jails and prisons, and more than one-half of inmates on death row.
  • Among African-American men, about 13 percent cannot vote in elections as a result of a current or previous conviction.
  • One in three Black men between 20 and 29 is under correctional supervision in some jurisdiction.




Written by BET-Staff


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