The Facts: Race-Based Data Through the Life Cycle


The Early Years (0 to 12)

Black infants are more than twice as likely to die as white infants. A growing body of research links this disparity to the toxic psychological stress experienced as a result of systemic racism.

Black students as young as four years old are already facing unequal treatment from school administrators. According to a 2014 study:

  • Black students accounted for 18 percent of the country’s pre-K enrolment, but made up 48 percent of preschoolers with multiple out-of-school suspensions.
  • Black students were expelled at three times the rate of white students.
  • Black girls were suspended at higher rates than all other girls and most boys.
  • Nearly one in four boys of color, excepting Latino and Asian American students, with disabilities received an out-of-school suspension.
  • One in five girls of color with disabilities received an out-of-school suspension.
  • A quarter of the schools with the highest percentage of Black and Latino students did not offer Algebra II.
  • A third of these schools did not offer chemistry.
  • Black and Latino students accounted for 40 percent of enrollment at schools with gifted programs, but only represented 26 percent of students in such programs.
  • Black, Latino and Native American students attended schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers (3 to 4 percent) than white students (1 percent).
  • Black students were more than three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60 percent of teachers meet all state certification and licensure requirements.

Among children ages 5 to 12, Black children have a significantly higher incidence of suicide than white children.

The Teen Years (13-18)

The U.S. Department of Education saw a spike in student racial harassment complaints in 2017 as it plans to scale back civil rights investigations and shrink the office that handles these submissions.

The Young Adult Years (18 – 25)

Police arrest Black Americans for drug crimes at twice the rate of white Americans, according to federal data, despite the fact that white Americans use drugs at comparable rates and sell drugs at comparable or even higher rates.

Black women in the United States are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as white women.

Black Americans are criminalized and surveilled more heavily than other demographics, as seen in a recently documented trend of white Americans calling the police on Black people for merely existing in public space.

The Adult Years (26-65)

A large wealth disparity still exists between white and Black Americans. Among other factors, FHA redlining, restrictive covenants, and exploitative contract selling practices that capitalized on black families’ inability to get conventional mortgages all prevented African-Americans from generating wealth through home ownership for much of the 20th century.

Black Americans may be excluded from juries because of their race, and are more likely to serve longer sentences than white Americans for the same offense.

Black Americans are also more likely to be disenfranchised because of a felony conviction. According to recent estimates from the Sentencing Project, 2.5 percent of all Americans are disenfranchised due to a current or past felony conviction. For Black Americans, the figure is 7.7 percent, or about 1 in 13.

Black Americans are more likely to be jailed while awaiting trial. A 2014 study in New York City showed that blacks were more likely than whites or nonblack minorities to be in jail while they await trial, even after controlling for the seriousness of charges and prior record (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics).

Black Americans are also more likely to have their cars searched. Police are three times as likely to search the cars of stopped black drivers than stopped white drivers, as the chart below, based on data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, illustrates. Nationally, Black drivers are also more likely to be pulled over and less likely to receive a reason for being stopped.

Black Americans are also more likely to have their probation revoked:

Unemployment rates and the employment-population ratio also vary by race and ethnicity. In 2016, the overall civilian unemployment rate was 4.9 percent and 8.4 percent for Black Americans; the rate for white Americans was 4.3 percent, and the rate for Latino Americans was 5.8 percent.

Unemployment rate and employment–population ratio by major race and ethnicity groups, 2016 annual averages
Race or ethnicity group Unemployment rate Employment–population ratio
Total 4.9% 59.7%

Unemployment rate and employment-population ratio by major race and ethnicity groups, 2016 annual averages:

Black or African American 8.4 56.4
Hispanic or Latino 5.8 62.0
White 4.3 60.2
Asian 3.6 60.9

Black Americans die at the hands of police at a rate of 7.2 per million, while white Americans are killed at a rate of 2.9 per million.

The Senior Years (65 and older)

Unemployment for Black Americans aged 55+ increased in the 1st quarter of 2018.

Environmental Injustice Across the Lifespan

Black and other racialized minorities, and low income Americans, are also disproportionately paying the price as environmental injustice increases in the United States.

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