Has Georgia achieved more racial progress than any other state in the nation?

Georgia has achieved the most racial progress over time compared to other states in the country, according to a new survey from WalletHub .

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day ( Jan. 16), the personal finance website measured racial progress by looking at the difference between whites and blacks across metrics including employment and wealth, education and civic engagement and health.

For each metric, they used the oldest and most recent data available then calculated the percentage of progress for that time period.

Georgia ranked first for employment and wealth, tenth for education and civic engagement and had a rather low ranking of 37 for health. It makes you wonder if all that racial progress is coming at the expense of one's health?

Georgia ranked in the top five for states with the highest change in median annual income gap and highest change in the business ownership rate gap, all of which explains why Georgia has seen the most racial progress in the area of wealth.

But income is only part of the wealth story, says Kevin Cokely, director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis, at the University of Texas at Austin.

When income is controlled for, there is still a large racial wealth gap, he said.

"Compared to White households, Black households typically do not have large wealth reserves or liquid assets, and thus have to rely on income and housing equity to a much greater degree than White households. The income gap between a young two-earner Black couple and a young two-earner White couple may be small, as documented in the book “The New Black Middle Class,” but there still remain a large gap in terms of net worth," said Cokely in the study.

From student loans to homeownership to investments and income, the legacy of racial inequality can continue to impact the wealth of blacks and whites in different ways, even when it appears progress is being made.

For more details from the survey and to see how states currently rank on integration , visit www.wallethub.com .

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About the Author

Nedra Rhone
Nedra Rhone
Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.