NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Black America's Economic Progress

December 22, 1997

In a recent review of four books on the state of black people in America, noted social analyst John J. DiIulio says that if black America were a separate nation, it would easily be one of the richest countries in the world -- both financially and socially.

  • From 1995 to 1996, the annual personal income of blacks in the U.S. rose from $324 billion to $371 billion -- a 13 percent increase.
  • In inflation-adjusted dollars, the personal annual income of blacks is 50 percent higher today than it was in 1980.
  • Blacks -- comprising 12 percent of the U.S. population -- account for one-quarter of all spending for online computer services.
  • In 1996, the 28.4 percent of blacks living below the poverty line represented the lowest proportion since the Census Bureau started keeping such data in 1955.

DiIulio makes the point that average black household spending on new cars, clothes and computers now outstrips average white household spending.

He also reports that black extended families now care for four times as many orphaned or needy children as are in the custody of government child-welfare agencies.

Yet most blacks remain convinced they are the victims of racial discrimination at the hands of whites.

Source: John J. DiIulio, "State of Grace," National Review, December 22, 1997.


Browse more articles on Government Issues