The Inequality of Inequality

By |2017-10-19T21:01:53+00:00December 9th, 2014|Comments Off on The Inequality of Inequality

PRB what if

In November, the Population Reference Bureau released the report The Demography of Inequality in the United States, with a chapter highlighting the Persistent Racial/Ethnic Gaps in the U.S. 

The report also contains an interactive U.S. Poverty What-If Scenario, which allows users to see the effect of racial inequality on the overall poverty of children, working-age adults, and older adults. For example, the authors predict that eliminating racial disparities in poverty would cut in half the number of children in poverty:

The number of children in poverty is projected to increase to 21 million by 2050, up from 15 million in 2013. But if current racial and ethnic gaps in poverty were eliminated, the number of poor children in 2050 would drop below the level in 2013, to 12 million.

Projections should always be taken with a few grains of salt. But this scenario makes a point that’s more important than precise numbers: racial inequality is one of the key themes in the story of American poverty.

This report helps illustrate how policies that fail huge swaths of Americans, predictably along racial lines, are not just failing Americans of color, they are hurting the country as a whole.

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