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These are the 5 Worst States for African Americans



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Out of the 50 states, which 5 would you guess are the worst for African Americans? ranked each state in four categories: income gap, education gap, home ownership disparity and Black incarceration rate per 100,000. 

They compared the percentage difference between median white and median black incomes. The greater the gap meant the state had a long way to go towards equality. The same thing was applied to the other categories. 

  1. Minnesota

The state of Minnesota has the biggest home ownership gaps out of all the states for white and black homeowners. This is no surprise at all for a Midwestern state as the midwest is notorious for its  redlining history. According to the website Minnesota Compass, only 24% of Black households in the state own their homes compared with 77% of white Minnesota households. In Minneapolis, the Black homeownership rate is the lowest of any metro area in the country. 

The racial income gap is 36% in Minnesota while the education gap sits at 15.5. The black incarceration rate, however, is the lowest of all the other states on this list at 1219 per 100,000. 

Minnesota is not alone in being one of the worst states for African Americans in the midwest. According to a study by a University of Iowa historian, Midwestern cities and states in general are among the worst places for Black people to live in. 


  1. Connecticut 

This east coast state made it on the worst list for its high homeownership and high income gap. Connecticut is known for being a wealthy state that’s home to some of the nation’s most financially well-off populations. But that prosperity is largely enjoyed by white residents. 

While Connecticut has one of the lowest poverty rates for white residents at 6%, over 20% of the Black population live in poverty. According to a report by 24/7 Wall St, there is an almost $37,000 gap between the median annual income for Black and white households. 

In the report, 24/7 Wall St states, “Racial segregation is especially pronounced in Connecticut. Not only are high affluent predominantly white neighborhoods more common in Connecticut than across the nation, but unlike many other areas, these communities often border extremely poor, predominantly nonwhite neighborhoods.” The Black incarceration rate in Connecticut sits at 1392 per 100,000. 

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  1. South Dakota

South Dakota is similar to Connecticut in its income and homeownership gap, but its Black incarceration rate is slightly higher at 1,493 per 100,000.  South Dakota doesn’t often show up on any lists pertaining to the Black population since African Americans make up only 2% of the population. The city of  Sioux Falls has the largest Black population in South Dakota. 

The education gap is particularly high in this state similar to Connecticut. Black South Dakota residents are 18% less likely to receive a bachelor’s degree. In an equality ranking released by the U.S. News and World Report that looks at how the residents of various states perform in categorizes of employment, educational achievement, and  income, South Dakota came at number 15. 


  1. Iowa

Another midwestern state makes the list as the second worst state for African Americans. The homeownership gap between black and white residents is the second highest at 50%. Surprisingly, Iowa has the lowest educational gap out of all the states on this list at 11.9%. The racial income gap is at 35%, which is on par with Minnesota.  

24/7 ranked Iowa as the 4th worst state for African Americans based on homeownership and unemployment rates. The state’s black population earns a median household income of less than $30,000 annually, which is lower than the nationwide Black median household income. In comparison, Iowa’s white households bring in a median household income of $55,448 a year.

In 2018, 24/7 Wall Street named the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area as the worst place for African Americans in the US. The wage gap in that area is even wider at 46%. The Black incarceration rate for the whole state is 2,349 per 100,000. 

  1. Wisconsin, the worst state for African Americans!

There is no surprise here as cities in Wisconsin often make the worst lists for African Americans. And one of the main reasons for Wisconsin to land on the number one spot is the high incarceration rate of African Americans, which sits at 2,542 per 100,000. Black imprisonment is more than 10 times that of white imprisonment in the state. The homeownership gap is only second to Ohio’s at 48%. 

WalletHub also named Wisconsin as the worst state for racial equality in employment and wealth in 2020. Wisconsin ranked the worst in labor participation rate gap, median income gap, and poverty rate gap. 

About 30% of Wisconsin’s white population has at least a bachelor’s degree while only 13% of the Black population in the state has completed college. The unemployment rate is also higher for Black residents of Wisconsin compared to the national average. Milwaukee and Racine often top the worst cities in the US for African Americans.