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Black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America, massive study finds

New research from the United States Census Bureau, Stanford University and Harvard University reveals that even if black boys come from wealthy families, they’re still more likely than their white counterparts to live in poverty as adults.

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In fact, even when both groups grow up in the same neighborhoods, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the disparity is even greater in neighborhoods promising low poverty and good schools, researchers said.


“Simply because you’re in an area that is more affluent, it’s still hard for black boys to present themselves as independent from the stereotype of black criminality,” Khiara Bridges, a professor of law and anthropology at Boston University who has written on discrimination against affluent black people, told the New York Times, which published an interactive on the research Monday.

For the extensive longitudinal study based on virtually “all Americans,” researchers tracked a set sample of 20 million children and their parents from 1989 to 2015.

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“One of the most popular liberal post-racial ideas is the idea that the fundamental problem is class and not race, and clearly this study explodes that idea,” Ibram Kendi, a professor and director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, told the New York Times. “But for whatever reason, we’re unwilling to stare racism in the face.”

Here are some of the key takeaways from the “Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective” report:

  • Black boys growing up in wealthy families were more likely than their white peers to live in poverty as adults.
  • Twenty-one percent of black men raised at the very bottom were incarcerated.
  • Black men raised in the top 1 percent were as likely to be incarcerated as white men raised in households earning about $36,000.
  • The worst places for poor white children are almost all better than the best places for poor black children.
  • African-Americans made up about 35 percent of all children raised in the bottom 1 percent. They made up less than 1 percent of the children at the very top.
  • Large income gaps aren’t as significant among black women.
  • Only Native Americans have an income gap comparable to African-Americans. Black boys still fare the worst.

Explore the full interactive at NYTimes.com.

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