WaPo Claims Black-White Income Gap 'Hasn’t Narrowed in the Last 50 Years'; It Did Narrow, and Has Fallen Back

September 1st, 2013 6:33 PM

Among ten charts presented by Brad Plumer at the Washington Post on Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington, all meant to show that "the black-white economic gap hasn’t budged in 50 years," is one which purports claims that "The gap in household income between blacks and whites hasn’t narrowed in the last 50 years."

Words mean things, Brad. "Hasn't budged" means "no meaningful movement." That just isn't so, as will be seen after the jump. But first, let's look at the inflation-adjusted graph WaPo presented to support its claim:


Thanks to its scale, it's almost impossible to determine anything from this graph. All the gaps look pretty much the same, except for Hispanics compared to blacks, which nearly converged in 1995 before diverging again after that.

I started with the the same Census Bureau data as the Post used and added what former Census Bureau employees at Sentier Research have found through June 2013. A reformulated graph shows that there was some progress until 2000, followed a slight decline during the next eight years, and a complete cratering during the final five years, wiping out all previous progress which had been made. I also added a few relevant historical markers:


Black household income as a percentage of white households hit its nadir before heading back up during the Reagan Era. That improvement continued during the early Clinton years, and took off to its ultimate in 2000 after welfare reform and that era's capital gains cuts took hold. The statistic fell during the first half of the previous decade and went up during the next couple of years after that. In the five years since Barack Obama took office the percentage has fallen from 68.0% to the same 60.5% seen in 1967.

The fact that the gap narrowed at all at any time during the past 50 years is remarkable, given the wreckage inflicted on black family formation by welfare, out-of-wedlock births, and abortion on demand, all fed by the media-encouraged entitlement mentality of so-called "leaders" like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. The past five years have been the perfect storm, combining an awful economy with continued social and cultural decay.

But in terms of reporting, the fact remains that WaPo's claim that black-white household income gap "hasn't budged" is false. It's a convenient dodge to avoid having to report that during the administration of Barack Obama, comparative African-American Household income has fallen back to where it was almsot 50 years ago.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.