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Study: Significant Progress for African-Americans in Texas

A new study shows that African-Americans in Texas have made significant social and economic gains over the past half century. (spfoto/iStockphoto)
A new study shows that African-Americans in Texas have made significant social and economic gains over the past half century. (spfoto/iStockphoto)
January 10, 2017

DALLAS – When it comes to racial progress by African-Americans, Texas ranks among the top states in the nation in a new survey. It shows that black Texans are both currently doing well and have made significant progress over the past half-century, according to a study by the marketing firm WalletHub.

By contrast, a similar study from last year shows that racial integration for Hispanic Texans remains a slow process.

Jill Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for WalletHub, says that despite recent high-profile incidents of police brutality in Texas and elsewhere, African-Americans are making significant gains in Texas.

"We compared 2015 statistics versus 1970," she said. "That's where Texas has made a lot of strides, especially when we are looking at the median annual incomes and the business ownership rates. Texas actually had the smallest gap between blacks and whites in the country."

The survey rated progress in three broad categories, including Employment and Wealth, Education and Civic Engagement and Health. African-Americans in Texas ranked high in labor-force participation and poverty rate gaps and the high school graduation rate. They also ranked poorly in the unemployment rate and on standardized test scores.

Gonzalez says with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday coming up next Monday, the survey took a comprehensive look at 16 social and economic factors affecting African-Americans.

"First, we looked at all 50 states plus D.C. to look at the current integration level of whites and blacks," she explained. "We also constructed a second ranking of how the states have racially progressed over time."

She said African-Americans, which make up less than 12 percent of the state's population, did well, scoring especially high in the survey's economic categories.

"Texas ranked fourth best when it came to the current integration level, eighth best when we look at racial progress over time," she added. "So, it was in the top 10 for both reports here, especially when it comes to its employment and wealth ranking."

By contrast, a WalletHub study from 2016 ranked the racial progress of Hispanic Texans below the national average, and near the bottom in categories such as bachelor's degrees, median annual income, overall poverty and math and science test scores.

Mark Richardson/Shaine Smith, Public News Service - TX