New data from Stanford economist Raj Chetty. (Here’s my 2015 analysis of some of his old work.)
From the New York Times’ Upshot section:
Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys
By EMILY BADGER, CLAIRE CAIN MILLER, ADAM PEARCE and KEVIN QUEALY MARCH 19, 2018
Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children.
White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain that way. Black boys raised at the top, however, are more likely to become poor than to stay wealthy in their own adult households.
Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America.
The study, based on anonymous earnings and demographic data for virtually all Americans now in their late 30s, debunks a number of other widely held hypotheses about income inequality. Gaps persisted even when black and white boys grew up in families with the same income, similar family structures, similar education levels and even similar levels of accumulated wealth. …
The disparities that remain also can’t be explained by differences in cognitive ability, an argument made by people who cite racial gaps in test scores that appear for both black boys and girls. If such inherent differences existed by race, “you’ve got to explain to me why these putative ability differences aren’t handicapping women,” said David Grusky, a Stanford sociologist who has reviewed the research.
So much for the Theory of Intersectionality.
Actually, the “putative” IQ differences are handicapping black women relative to white women: a much higher percentage of white women grew up in, say, the overall top one percent of income than did black women, just as cognitive test scores would predict. What Chetty has found is instead that there is a disparity between current income of black women and black men of the same income background.
It’s almost as if America has had a giant system of affirmative action over the last half century to benefit blacks, but it doesn’t work for blacks who are criminals. So it benefits black women far more than it benefits black men because of, as Chetty’s data demonstrates, the black males’ extremely high rate of serious criminality. (Here’s an Obama Administration report on how much higher the black homicide offender rate is.)
As for black women vs. white women, keep in mind, it’s not there are no differences in income distribution between white and black women — there are — it’s just that the small number of black women who grew up in affluent families tend to do about as well as white women who grew up in affluent families.
In contrast, black males growing up in all income levels have an unfortunate tendency to be keeping it real than white males who grew up in families at the same income level.
Technical question on Chetty’s methodology: I bet 27-32 year old white women in Utah earn less individually than black women.
Answer: It appears to be individual income for the children as adults, not family or household income (which is what is measured when they are children). Is this correct? If so, younger black women have long been known (see Thomas Sowell decades ago) to be more likely to be employed than white women, more of whom have husbands who can bring enough to support the family.
A more likely possibility, the authors suggest, is that test scores don’t accurately measure the abilities of black children in the first place. …
You know, maybe then somebody should invent a test that would be more accurate. They’d probably make a lot of money and win a lot of honors if they did.
If this inequality can’t be explained by individual or household traits, much of what matters probably lies outside the home — in surrounding neighborhoods, in the economy and in a society that views black boys differently from white boys, and even from black girls.
The authors, including the Stanford economist Raj Chetty and two census researchers, Maggie R. Jones and Sonya R. Porter, tried to identify neighborhoods where poor black boys do well, and as well as whites.
“The problem,” Mr. Chetty said, “is that there are essentially no such neighborhoods in America.”
The few neighborhoods that met this standard were in areas that showed less discrimination in surveys and tests of racial bias. They mostly had low poverty rates. And, intriguingly, these pockets — including parts of the Maryland suburbs of Washington, and corners of Queens and the Bronx
I.e., Prince George County, Maryland and the middle-class West Indian parts of New York, such as Eric Holder’s old neighborhood of West Indians that kept young Eric carefully wrapped in a bourgeois bubble away from poisonous African-American culture.
— were the places where many lower-income black children had fathers at home. Poor black boys did well in such places, whether their own fathers were present or not.
Because there aren’t street gangs to join and the other boys are scared their fathers would be mad if they started their own street gang.
The chief problem with being poor in 21st Century America is not that you can’t afford to buy enough stuff, it’s that you can’t afford to move away from other poor people.
“This crystallizes and puts data behind this thing that we always knew was there because we either felt it ourselves or we’ve seen it over time,” said Will Jawando, 35, who worked in the Obama White House on My Brother’s Keeper, a mentoring initiative for black boys. … Mr. Jawando, the son of a Nigerian father and a white mother, grew up poor in Silver Spring, Md. The Washington suburb contains some of the rare neighborhoods where black and white boys appear to do equally well. Mr. Jawando, who identifies as black, is now a married lawyer with three daughters. He is among the black boys who climbed from the bottom to the top.
Clearly, the solution is to breed more Jawando/Obama-style hybrids, and, ideally, raise them on sequestered islands in the Pacific.
Other studies show that boys, across races, are more sensitive than girls to disadvantages like growing up in poverty or facing discrimination.
Another way to think about this is that female behavior is relatively similar across cultures while male behavior is what determines the type of culture.
While black women also face negative effects of racism, black men often experience racial discrimination differently. As early as preschool, they are more likely to be disciplined in school. They are pulled over or detained and searched by police officers more often.
“It’s not just being black but being male that has been hyper-stereotyped in this negative way, in which we’ve made black men scary, intimidating, with a propensity toward violence,” said Noelle Hurd, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia. …
But of course we can tell from the racial distribution of NFL cornerbacks that it’s actually Asian Indians who are most sought out by pro teams for their ability to deal out instant violence to pass receivers.
The new data shows that 21 percent of black men raised at the very bottom were incarcerated, according to a snapshot of a single day during the 2010 census. Black men raised in the top 1 percent — by millionaires — were as likely to be incarcerated as white men raised in households earning about $36,000. …
See the graph above.
As this chart shows, a black man raised by two parents together in the 90th percentile — making around $140,000 a year — earns about the same in adulthood as a white man raised by a single mother making $60,000 alone.
Regression toward the mean.
Lots more interesting stuff here.