Black people in US face systemic disadvantages from birth to death
From birth to death, Black people face systemic disadvantages in American life more than 150 years after slavery was abolished.
Inequality between white and Black Americans persists in almost every aspect of society and the economy.
Such disadvantages have proven immune to decades of laws and policies meant to address them, leaving Black people with less education, less wealth, poorer health and shorter lifespans.
Together, the disparities reflect what many have labeled systemic racism amid the mass protests that followed the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer.
There has been progress in recent decades. But wide gaps — rooted in the legacy of slavery, segregation and discrimination — have endured or widened in the years since the civil rights victories of the 1960s.
Born from the enslavement of Africans in British colonies since the early 1600s, American inequality plays out over the course of a lifetime.
Disparities begin at birth, even before. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.
Out of every 100,000 live births, 42 Black women die of pregnancy-related causes, more than three times the rate for white women.
Disparities extend to the basics of life. Black households are two and a half times more likely to experience food insecurity than white households.
One in every five Black households experienced food insecurity in 2018, defined as uncertainty in being able to acquire enough food for the household.
About one in ten Black households included a member who ate less food than they needed because they didn’t have enough money.
A Brookings Institution survey in April showed that food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic hit a national rate of 23% — the highest on record — including nearly a third of Black households.
Racial disparities are solidified in school. Less than a third of Black students attain a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to almost half of white students.
The 16 percentage point gap between Black and white students who have bachelor’s degrees has remained steady for two decades.
More than 65 years after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed school segregation, Black children often still attend highly segregated and underfunded schools.
Because of housing discrimination and school-district gerrymandering, more than half of U.S. students attend schools with populations that are more than 75% white or 75% non-white, according to EdBuild, an organization that has advocated for more equitable school funding.