6 charts show some of the racial disparities in U.S., San Antonio

Data shows racial gaps in income, food insecurity and imprisonment

Thousands lined up for San Antonio Food Bank distribution event at Traders Village earlier this year.

SAN ANTONIO – The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody did not only spark a national conversation about police brutality, but it also breathed new life into the discussion on longstanding racial inequities in the United States.

Some of these gaps were further inflamed by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected some parts of San Antonio harder than others.

From access to internet to incarceration rates, here are some glaring racial inequities that exist in the United States and San Antonio. Experts attribute such gaps to “historical discrimination and exclusion from education, housing, capital, and loanable funds markets.”

Median household income

In 2018, a median Hispanic household earned 73 cents for every dollar a median white household earned, according to the Economic Policy Institute. A median Black household earned just 59 cents for every dollar a median white household earned.

Median income alone doesn’t fully capture the disparity. The median net worth suffers from an even bigger gap.

According to the Hamilton Project, part of the Brookings Institution, the median net worth of white households is 10 times higher than Black households.

“Such racial wealth gaps are well-documented and attributable to historical discrimination and exclusion from education, housing, capital, and loanable funds markets,” according to the project’s report.

Life expectancy:

As of 2017, the difference in life expectancy between the country’s Black and white population is 3.5 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After the difference hit a historic low in 2015, the gap is slightly beginning to widen again, the data shows.

Life expectancy at birth, by race and sex between 1970 and 2017. (KSAT)

Job losses:

While the Black unemployment rate hit an all-time low in September 2019, job losses due to the pandemic appears to have disproportionately affected Black people, according to the BBC.

As of June 2020, the percentage of unemployed Black workers hit 16.8%, while white workers’ unemployment rate was at 12.4%.

Unemployment rates in the United States. (KSAT)

Food insecurity:

Getting food on the table is an essential function for any household, but access to affordable, nutritious food is unequal. According to the Hamilton Project, a large percentage of Black households face food insecurity.

The access has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the group.

Food insecurity between April to July 2020, broken down by race. (KSAT)

In San Antonio, one doesn’t have to look far to find food insecurity.

The Alamo City received national attention after aerial shots showed an astounding line at a San Antonio Food Bank distribution site in April.

Children at Risk, an advocacy organization that reports statewide, non-partisan research aimed at addressing the causes of poor public policies affecting children, released data earlier this year that shows seven San Antonio-area ZIP codes where children are most at risk for food insecurity. The ZIP codes are largely on the city’s West and South sides, where the population is largely Hispanic.

Incarceration:

While the imprisonment rate is on the decline in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center, the country still has the highest incarceration rate in the world.

Black Americans are more likely to be imprisoned than white Americans. While Black people make up 12% of the U.S. population, they account of 33% of the U.S. prison population. Hispanics, who make up 16% of the adult population, make up 23% of the prison population.

While Black prison populations have declined, they're still incarcerated at a larger rate than any other race. (KSAT)

In Texas, where Black people make up roughly 13% of the state’s population, they account for a third of the population in Texas prisons and state jails, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Despite that, Black people make up the smallest percentage of releases in Texas at 28%.

Digital Divide:

Another divide can be seen when it comes to access to high-speed internet.

In San Antonio, 12% of households in the city do not own a computer and nearly a quarter do not have a broadband internet subscription, according to U.S. Census data from 2018. The lack of access greatly hinders vulnerable residents’ ability to receive quick information and receive remote instruction in a time when most schools are teaching online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data from SA2020, Districts 1, 2, 4 and 5 have the lowest rates of connectivity in the city.

Many of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the digital divide are the same ones that score the highest on the city’s equity matrix, indicating that the overwhelming majority of residents who live there are people of color.


About the Author: