NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Growing Ranks of Successful Black Entrepreneurs

February 18, 2002

The raw numbers from last year's census show that blacks made considerable economic and educational progress during the 1990s.

  • Black median household income grew 15 percent between 1989 and 1999 -- compared to 6 percent for white families.
  • Median income for blacks grew to $30,439 from $22,974 in constant year 2000 dollars -- a 32 percent leap compared to an increase of 14 percent for whites.
  • The number of black-owned firms increased 26 percent from 1992 to 1997 -- compared to a 7 percent increase for U.S. firms overall.
  • Total earned income for blacks in the U.S. jumped by 50 percent between 1996 and 2000 -- from $367 billion to $543 billion.

Economists and sociologists observe that the figures undermine the oft-stated protests of so-called civil rights leaders, who claim that times are hard and racism is thriving and striving to keep black America in poverty.

In fact, many black bootstrap entrepreneurs see welfare programs and big government as obstacles to self-help, says Eddie Williams, who heads the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. "I really think there is a new phenomenon out there," he told Newsweek in a recent interview.

Source: Steve Miller, "Black and Rich," Washington Times, February 18, 2002.


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