According to the U.S. Census, African-Americans Have a Poverty Rate of More Than 22 Percent
Eric Mitchell, Director of Government Relations, Bread for the World
(Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 27, 2018) – Bread for the World has released a fact sheet for African American History month, “Hunger and Poverty in the African-American Community.” African-Americans are more likely to be food-insecure and live in poverty than other Americans. This condition is a direct result of poverty, racial discrimination and gender discrimination.
While the United States has an overall poverty rate of 12.7 percent, according to the U.S. Census, within the African American community, the poverty rate is 22 percent. This rate is even higher in African-American female-headed households at 34.2 percent.
Almost 50 percent of all black children younger than six live in poverty—more than three times the proportion of young white children.
African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, but they represent 22.5 percent of those who are experiencing poverty and hunger. With advocacy for the right policies, we can reduce these numbers and end hunger in this community.
Here are some factors contributing to hunger and poverty in the African-American community:
- Mass Incarceration: African Americans are seven times as likely to be incarcerated as whites who commit the same offenses.
- Lower Employment and Income: 10.4 percent of African Americans are unemployed, not including part-time workers seeking full-time work or those returning from incarceration.
- Poorer Education: Lower-resourced schools are located disproportionately in African-American communities.
- Poorer Health: 34 percent of African Americans did not see a doctor when ill for financial reasons.
- Poor Credit: African Americans are more likely to have poor credit histories than whites with similar incomes.
- Higher Levels of Debt: African Americans spend more than half their incomes repaying debts.