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Report: African-Americans fall in equality index

By the CNN Wire Staff
African-Americans trail whites the most in economics and social justice, according to the National Urban League.
African-Americans trail whites the most in economics and social justice, according to the National Urban League.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The index measures how African-Americans fare relative to whites
  • It is published by the National Urban League
  • This year's index stands at 71.5%, down from 72.1% last year
  • A number of social factors are behind the decline

(CNN) -- African-Americans are faring slightly worse relative to their white counterparts than they did last year, according to an index released Thursday by the National Urban League.

The group's 2011 Equality Index stands at 71.5%, compared to a revised index last year of 72.1%, the league said as it released its annual report, called The State of Black America.

An equality index of less than 100% suggests blacks are doing worse relative to whites, while an index greater than 100% suggests blacks are doing better.

The league attributed the 2011 drop to a decline in the economics index, driven by housing and wealth factors, and to a decline in the health index, driven by children's health.

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Economics and social justice continue to be the areas in which blacks trail whites the most, with ratings of 56.9% and 58% respectively. Those are followed by health at 75% and education at 78.9%.

Since the Equality Index was introduced in 2005, researchers have found growing equality between blacks and whites in the unemployment rate, the percentage of uninsured, the incarceration rate, and prisoners as a percentage of arrests, the league said.

The index has also charted growing inequality over that period in rates of poverty, home ownership, school enrollment (both "preprimary" and college), and the level of educational attainment (both high school diplomas and bachelor's degrees).

The index of median household income has remained unchanged, the league said.

In 2010, the index measured Hispanics in America for the first time. This year's index finds them faring slightly better than last year compared to their white counterparts, at 76.8% compared to a revised 2010 index of 76.6%, the league said.

It attributed the rise to improvements in health and social justice indices, but said those were offset by declines in economics and education.

In the past year, the league said it has observed growing gaps in the relative status of blacks and whites in the areas of loan access, wealth and children's health.

For Hispanics, there have been growing gaps in the areas of loan access and college enrollment, it said.

The 2011 State of Black America report includes essays from a variety of authors including League President Marc Morial and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

 
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