Black Americans still 30% worse off than whites – equality report
Among the findings, African Americans made gains over the past year with increased access to healthcare, which grew from 79.4 percent in 2016 to 80 percent in 2017, as well as education from 77.4 percent in 2016 to 78.2 percent in 2017, with a higher percentage of blacks receiving associate’s degrees compared to whites at 100 percent.
“While the Obama years were no panacea for America’s long-standing racial inequalities, they were a steady climb toward improvement,” the report said.
The equality index measures quality of life in terms of economic, health, education, social justice and civic engagement, according to the report.
African American’s economic prosperity only improved slightly with a gain of 0.3 percent, from 56.2 percent in 2016 to 56.5 percent in 2017, with a boost in black women’s earnings, and growth in the percentage of black-owned businesses. Hispanic Americans come in at 62.1 percent.
“The data side of the report pretty much covers the Obama years,” Marc Morial, CEO National Urban League Morial told USA Today. “Things improved economically from an education standpoint and in terms of health disparities, not in a fashion that we would have liked but certainly in a very important way.”
The report said the gains in health and education were overshadowed by a decline in social justice equality between blacks and whites, which dropped from 60.9 percent in 2016 to 57.4 percent in 2017.
African Americans were found to have experienced an increase in incarceration after an arrest, and whites posted a greater decline than black in terms of their likelihood of being the victim of a violent crime.
There were gains made in education and health under Obama but threats to cuts government programs under the incoming Trump administration have advocates worried the gains will be lost.
“Recent proposals before Congress would shift desperately needed resources away from underfunded public schools towards our heavily-invested-in military,” Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League, said in a statement.
Morial said proposed federal budgets cuts would slash the budgets for the Departments of Health, Education, Housing and Labor.
“A blueprint for a sick, uneducated, homeless and unemployed America. Suggested double-digits cuts, or the outright elimination of funding for vital programs and services, would devastate already vulnerable citizens and working families.”
A shift: Trump’s budget requests $54 bn defense increase, while slashing other departments https://t.co/2wd2eo7El9— RT (@RT_com) March 16, 2017
The report is released as the the Trump administration in its first budget blueprint for fiscal 2018 has called for a nearly 18 percent cut, or a loss of $15.1 billion in programs, for the Department of Health and Human Services for its next year.
Trump would also cut $4.2 billion in grants the federal government provides to communities to assist the poor, including the decades-old Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income Americans with their heating bills.
And the budget would slash more than $400 million in training programs for nurses and other health professionals, which the Trump administration said are ineffective.