Saturday, May 05, 2007

African American Baby Boomers and the American Dream

If there are more than nine million black baby boomers according to the 2004 US Census, why are there only a little more than two hundred thousand of us making $100,000 or more? Maybe it’s because we were never meant to live the American Dream.

More than forty years after the end of the baby boom, black Americans born between 1946 and 1964 "are no better off relative to whites than their parents and grandparents" were in terms of income, according to a Duke University study. Black baby boomers have not closed the income gap, even though they were the first generation to come of age after the civil rights era, the researchers said.

The Duke study correlates with statistical information recently released by (; a company that collects data to be used for mailing lists. According to the 2004 US Census, even though California is the largest state in the US, it ranks sixth when it comes to the number of blacks making at least $100,000, according to the Nextmark data. New York may have the largest black population overall but it ranks a distant second when it comes to the number of blacks making at least $100,000.

Maryland, meanwhile, holds the distinguished honor of being the state that tops the list of blacks making at least $100,000. Interestingly, Maryland is the 19th largest state. Out of 1.4 million blacks, there are a little more than 32,000 who earn at least $100,000. On the other hand, New York’s black population is just over three million but only 18,500 thousand blacks are reporting a six figure income.

Here are the states in order of blacks making at least $100,000:
1) Maryland 32,189; 2) New York 18,533; 3) Texas 12,098; 4) Georgia 11,429 (tie); Illinois 11,429 (tie); 5) Michigan 10,546; 6) California 10,511; 7) North Carolina 8,704; 8) Florida 8,226; 9 ) Virginia 7,908; 10) New Jersey 6,778.

Another interesting statistic is the fact that although Ohio is the seventh largest state, it barely cracks the top twenty with blacks making six figures. It falls behind states like Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and South Carolina. African Americans have made their way more into the middle class than before," said Duke sociology professor Mary Elizabeth Hughes, "but when you look across the board, you don't see the type of equality Americans would like to see. It suggests there are very deep root causes here, not one-answer causes."

Could that deep rooted cause be something called institutionalized racism? Remember, many black baby boomers grew up in a separate but so-called equal society filled with unequal education and unequal access. Then integration came along. But how much really changed? You do the math.

Sources for this story: and


Carine-what's cooking? said...

In some ways, life has changed and attitudes opened, but in too many ways, as you pointed out Bev, life has nowhere changed enough!
why do these archaic behaviors continue-fear and yes, ignorance.
How do we as individuals change this travesty-one day at a time and when we act, remembering that everyone deserves equality.
Difficult to be a band of one? Yes, but if all of us "ones" unite, we have quite a strong voice.
sounds cliche, but as with many cliches, it's true.

Roberto said...

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