NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Urban League Notes The Progress Of Blacks

July 26, 2000

Never have so many black citizens owned their own homes and -- with unemployment hovering at all-time lows -- the black middle class is swelling, says the National Urban League's annual review of the state of black America.

  • The number of black students in college has surged by 43 percent since the 1970s, the report observes.
  • League president Hugh B. Price emphasized that the strong demand for labor "has lifted all boats in the American economy, and we are no exception."
  • He also drew attention to the opening of a number of major chain stores in black neighborhoods in New York City and Washington, D.C. -- commenting that such developments "would have been unthinkable just a few years back."
  • Still, the report pointed out continuing divides -- not only between blacks and whites -- but between groups of blacks as well.

The divides between wealthy blacks in business for themselves and those still languishing in poverty are well known. But there is also the educational gap between black men and black women.

Between 1977 and 1997, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to black men increased 30 percent -- but the number awarded to black women went up 77 percent. For master's degrees, the increases were 8 percent for black men and 39 percent for black women.

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education has reported that more than twice as many black women in America hold master's degrees as do black men.

Source: Paul Shepard, "Blacks Stride Toward Prosperity, Urban League Says," Washington Times, July 26, 2000.

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