Before reading this, please understand that this is a very LONG post. It is filled with a lot of data and statistical points. If you don’t want to read every statistic, please scroll to the bottom for my conclusion. Feel free to use my research as a reference.
There is a lot of emotion in America in regards to race, but I want to remove emotion from the equation for a brief moment. I want to provide statistical information of all different fronts. I am not trying to establish an agenda; I just want to provide sourced information. I tried my best to find updated statistical information and from sources that aren’t particularly biased and government sources.
To make sure I am not misrepresented, I want to establish some things about myself. I am politically Independent black male. I am not showing this information to excuse bad behavior of authority figures. I am not showing this information to point blame at any particular group or organization. I am not attempting to take sides. I am not attempting to sway anyone to any particular ideology. If there is mention of race or political party, it is for factual information, not condemnation. I am human and I have my biases but I am doing my best not to present it here. I will display information in the order of my thought process when I was asking myself questions. I am not here to argue. You make up your own conclusion but I would hope you would respect my work. I’ve spent hours looking up data points. I am not a college professor, I’m just an average person with a computer who has questions about things that are happening around me. This is not a copy and paste from anyone else, I compiled this information alone.
I want to look at data points for high profile cases of black men being killed by the police and where they are from. I want to know what is the economic situation in their neighborhoods because economics matter in a lot of respects for daily lives. Poverty rate varies depending on number of people in the household and income earned. You also have to take into account the number of people in poverty AND the number of people who are very close to poverty which still puts them in a class of poor.
Mike Brown – Ferguson, MO – 22.5% Poverty Rate / Median Income $41,369 – https://datausa.io/profile/geo/ferguson-mo/ Freddie Grey – Baltimore, MD – Median income is $33,000 / 24% of Baltimore’s population live below the poverty line (2015) – https://money.cnn.com/2015/04/29/news/economy/baltimore-economy/
George Floyd – Minneapolis, MN – 43.2% of Blacks in Minneapolis live below the poverty line. https://www.welfareinfo.org/poverty-rate/minnesota/minneapolis
Eric Garner – Thompkinsville, Staten Island, NY – NeighborhoodScout’s research shows that this neighborhood has an income lower than 70.1% of U.S. neighborhoods. With 21.5% of the children here below the federal poverty line, this neighborhood has a higher rate of childhood poverty than 64.2% of U.S. neighborhoods. https://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ny/staten-island/tompkinsville
Tamir Rice – Cleveland, OH – 48.7% Percent of children under 18 live in Poverty (2017) https://www.communitysolutions.com/cleveland-dead-last-child-poverty/
Walter Scott – North Charleston, South Carolina – Poverty rate is 22.85% with Median household income of $41,316 https://datausa.io/profile/geo/north-charleston-sc
These incidents happened in areas that are among the poorest in the country. I want to look at how poor Black Americans are and compare it to another poor group in America, Native Americans:
Nationwide African American Poverty Rate between 20.8% and 27% depending on the source.
Black youth poverty rate is around 48%. https://talkpoverty.org/basics/http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/index.html%3Fp=4193.html
Native American Poverty Rate is about 25% according to US Census https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_social_statistics_of_Native_Americans
White Poverty Rate in America is around 9% https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/poverty-rate-by-raceethnicity/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
I want to quickly establish racial population in America for context:
Population Numbers – 2019 – https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/IPE120218
13.4% of Americans are Black or African American
76.5% of Americans are White
1.3% of Americans are American Indian / Native American
Government statistical points to show how by race Government Assistance is utilized due to poverty
Government Programs Statistics (2012) – https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2015/demo/p70-141.pdf
“In 2012, the average monthly participation rate for Blacks, 41.6 percent, was higher than that of Asians or Pacific Islanders at 17.8 percent and non-Hispanic Whites at 13.2 percent.”
When it comes to crime statistics, we could focus on many data points but I wanted to focus on Murder since the concern around America is the death of Black People by violence. Let’s start with deaths in comparison by the hands of police:
Number of People Shot to Death by the Police in the United States by Race – https://www.statista.com/statistics/585152/people-shot-to-death-by-us-police-by-race/
White (2019) – 370
White (2018) – 399
White (2017) – 457
Black (2019) – 235
Black (2018) – 209
Black (2017) – 223
Statistics show that more white people are shot and killed by the police by total numbers. I must note that these stats aren’t talking about justified or unjustified. Also, I recognize that Black people are a higher percentage compared to population versus white people but I wanted to point out the fact that the police shoot and kill both races. I will talk more about that in the conclusion.
Murder Statistics – 2016 – https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-3.xls
Out of 2,870 Black or African Americans killed, 2,570 were killed by another Black or African American. This means 89.5% of a black person being murdered are at the hands of another black person. To be fair, if you look at the statistics ratio is similar when it comes to white on white crime. The fact is that murders are typically personal and people murder who they know and their neighbors. The mentioning of black on black murder is only to point out who is killing black people. In encourage you to look at the FBI statistics.
Arrest statistics – 2017 – https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/table-43
27.2% Of Arrests by Black / African Americans
68.9% Of Arrests by White Americans2.4% Of Arrests by Native Americans
53.1% Of Murder and manslaughter Arrests by Black / African Americans
44.2% Of Murder and manslaughter Arrests by White Americans
1.1% Of Murder and manslaughter Arrests by Native Americans
Inmate Race Statistics – 2020 – https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_race.jsp
37.9% Of Inmates are Black Americans
58.2% Of Inmates are White Americans
2.3% Of Inmates are Native Americans
One thing that is known throughout the black community is the amount of homes with single parents and unmarried women giving birth. What are the societal impacts of single parent households? Higher risk of the following: Criminal Justice Involvement, Gang Involvement, Mental Health Issues, Poor School Performance, Substance Use, Poverty and Homelessness. https://www.mnpsych.org/index.php?option=com_dailyplanetblog&view=entry&year=2014&month=08&day=03&id=54%3Afather-absent-homes-implications-for-criminal-justice-and-mental-health-professionals&Itemid=186
Let’s look at the numbers by race:
Unmarried Mothers birthrate (2015) – https://cis.org/Camarota/Births-Unmarried-Mothers-Nativity-and-Education 77% of Black Native-Born Americans to unmarried mothers.
30% of White Native-Born Americans to unmarried mothers.68% of Indian/Alaskan Native to unmarried mothers.
Children in single-parent families by race (2018) – https://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/107-children-in-single-parent-families-by-race#detailed/1/any/false/37,871,870,573,869,36,868,867,133,38/10,11,9,12,1,185,13/432,431
65% of Black or African Americans
24% of White Americans
53% of American Indian / Native Americans
There appears to be a link between single parent homes and poverty but let’s continue.
Let’s look at economics for majority black areas that are wealthy and high poverty. For the wealthy, we will use Olympia Fields, IL which is 75% African American and a median household income of about $97,000. In 2018, they had 7 Reported Violent Crimes in 2018, 0 Murders. To be fair, it is a smaller population of about 5,000 residents that are primarily homeowners. The focus isn’t necessarily on crime, but on family dynamics – https://www.areavibes.com/olympia+fields-il/crime/
Olympia Fields, IL has 52% married couples, female lead households are 16% and male lead households are 15%. – https://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US1755938-olympia-fields-il/
To compare with high poverty cities:
Baltimore has about a 36% Marriage Rate, Female lead households are 30% and male lead households are 7% – https://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US2404000-baltimore-md/
Cleveland has about a 32% Marriage Rate, Female lead households are 32% and male lead households are 10% – https://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US3916000-cleveland-oh/
Let’s compare with a white majority city:
Scottsdale, AZ has about 59% Married Couples, Female lead households are 8% and male lead households are 6% – https://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US0465000-scottsdale-az/
Boise, ID has about 56% Married Couples, Female lead households are 13% and male lead households are 4% – https://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US1608830-boise-city-id/
To be fair, let’s compare with a majority black city with high poverty and a higher populated white city with high poverty. We will use Phoenix, Arizona as this example for higher white population vs black:
Phoenix, AZ has about equal white to hispanic residents around 40% with black residents being 6%
Poverty Rate is 20.9%
52% Married Couples, 21% Female lead households and 10% Male lead householdshttps://censusreporter.org/profiles/16000US0455000-phoenix-az/
Now that we have these cities as examples, let’s compare them when it comes to murders (2018):
Scottsdale, AZ – 7 Murders / 234,495 Population – https://www.areavibes.com/scottsdale-az/crime/
Boise, ID – 1 Murder / 218,677 Population – https://www.areavibes.com/boise-id/crime/
Baltimore – 309 Murders / 621,000 Population – https://www.areavibes.com/baltimore-md/crime/
Cleveland – 86 Murders / 389,165 Population – https://www.areavibes.com/cleveland-oh/crime/
Phoenix, AZ – 132 Murders / 1,555,324 Population – https://www.areavibes.com/phoenix-az/crime/
Baltimore has a ratio of about 1 Murder per 2,000th person
Phoenix, AZ has a ratio of about 1 Murder per 11,700th person
Economic Racial Oppression:
Part of the conversation is about racial oppression. Racial oppression is stated as one of the reason black people are in poverty because of white oppression. The areas of power tend to be in government and policies placed by local governments are the most direct and impactful. We will look at Baltimore as an example. The mentioning of political parties is meant for factual basis only, not criticism.
Mayor – Bernard Young (Black) – Democrat
State Attorney for Baltimore City – Marilyn Mosby (Black) – Democrat
Police Chief – Michael Harrison (Black)
City Council President – Brandon Scott (Black) – Democrat
Labor Commissioner – Deborah Moore-Carter (Black) – Democrat
Out of the 14 City Council Districts Plus the President of the City Council, there are 9 Black City Council Members for the city of Baltimore, meaning, blacks hold the majority of influence on City Council decisions. Every single one of the Members on City Council are Democrats. –http://www.baltimorecitycouncil.com/council-members
40.3% of the police officers in Baltimore are Black – https://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/police-department-officer-demographics-minority-representation.html
While the reasoning for rioting is debatable, the truth is that there is always an aftermath of destruction. This destruction impacts these already impoverished neighborhoods and find even more difficult to recover. This directly affects black people in a negative way. Let’s use Ferguson, MO as an example:
“Several businesses that were looted or vandalized during riots in Ferguson are gone and its budget deficit has grown as costs, including overtime pay for the police force, have increased. Revenue from sources such as traffic fines, long used to pad municipal finances, has dropped and job cuts for city employees could follow.”
“For the 21,000 residents of the mostly black community of Ferguson, the year since the Aug. 9 killing of 18-year-old Brown, which sparked months of unrest and racial tensions, has been one of slow recovery. Economic strains are showing in a town that, even before the protests, never fully recovered from the 2008 financial crisis.” – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ferguson-anniversary-finance/a-year-after-shooting-ferguson-faces-financial-toll-idUSKCN0QA2K120150806
“The massive police response in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown so far has cost taxpayers $5.7 million” – https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/20/ferguson-unrest-costs-taxpayers-57m-and-counting-r/
Before I get into the conclusion, I don’t claim to have the solutions to the plight of Black Americans. The point of me showing these statistics is to examine the data and see things for what they are without bias. I tried my best to compare apples to apples, but I at least want to give good data points. Please, I encourage you to make up your own mind.
Now for my opinion based off the days of putting this together: Any issue that affects millions of people, it is always going to be complex. There will never be just one solution to the problem but you have to start somewhere. It is logical to see the amount of poverty that black Americans live in percentage wise and understand that it is logical to see that there is more overall crime, especially violent crime. I would take the next leap to say that if there is more crime in an area, the people that live there are going to have law enforcement more involved in their lives. Police officers are dealing with more presentable danger than someone from a low poverty area on a more consistent basis. Once again, this is not excusing bad behavior by police officers but the reality is that they are in a more dangerous role that they signed up for. This could easily counter for the disparity in percentage as to why police officers may even be in a position to shoot another black person vs white.
I would say that one of the biggest data-points are the single-family households’ statistics and the psychological analysis of children that grow up in these environments being a higher risk for multiple negative situations in their lives. The cities that account for near equal poverty level but higher marriage rates show to have less violent crimes and murders. Poverty is easily a factor that is important but not the only factor. It is also to easily state that black people are not inherently violent as there are a number of black majority neighborhoods in America of wealth and very low crime rates.
It appears to be a cycle. Children born into single parent household have a higher chance of living in poverty. Child in poverty is at a high risk of having law enforcement, being involved in crimes or being a victim of crime. Child grows up, and if they have children out of wedlock, and not in a relationship with the mother, continues the cycle of poverty. The importance of role of the father is extremely important. Dr Warren Farrell, the author of “The Boy Crisis”, stated in an interview about gun violence from young men: “They’re almost completely fatherless. Pretty much every lone school shooter after Columbine has been a fatherless boy. We saw this with Nikolas Cruz, we saw it with Dylann Roof, we saw it with Elliot Rodger, we saw it with Dylan Klebold and Evan Ramsey. These are all boys who had minimal or no father involvement. And it’s not just about school shooters. Three female sociologists studied ISIS recruits who were in prison, and without even asking about fatherlessness, it came up again and again. This is true of Nazi recruits too, and gang recruits. When you think of gangs, many of our inner-city boys come from mother-only families, and by the time they reach 10 or 12, they haven’t had a single constructive male role model.”
All stats show that the biggest danger a black person has is from someone that looks like them. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care when someone commits a hate crime or when there is injustice, but outrage should be proportionate. If we want less police involvement in black lives, we have to lower black crime. If we want to lower black crime, we have to increase stable homes with father involvement.