DES MOINES, Iowa —
A new report claims the Midwest lacks support, resources and equity for the black community.
The report called, “Race in the Heartland,” was authored by an affiliate of the University of Iowa and the Iowa Policy Project and was released in October. It claims that “progress on racial equity has slowed or stalled on many fronts” since the civil rights movement.
The report examines racial disparities in education, employment, income, homeownership, incarceration, health, wealth and voting.
The states included in the Midwest analysis were Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Out of the 12 states included in the report, Iowa is No. 10 for population of black people in the state with 3.4% recorded by American Community Survey in 2017. Iowa is ahead of North Dakota and South Dakota.
According to the same survey, the national median black household income is more than $38,000, but in every Midwestern state, it is below $36,000. The national median white household income is $61,363.
As for hourly income, the median wages for a white person is $19.99 in the Midwest, whereas for a black person, it is $14.93, according to a survey in 2018.
The national rate of white people who own homes is 72%, while those who are black are 42%. Iowa is among the bottom 10 states of black people owning homes.
“While the median and average cost of housing is lower in the Midwest than any other regions, persistent income disparities, residential segregation and discrimination in realty and lending have dampened African American homeownership,” said the report.
Iowa is also in the bottom ten states for the gap between white people and black people turning out to vote.
“Participation, in turn, may be enhanced or dampened by political geography: gerrymandering of Congressional districts, or ‘at large’ voting in local elections can effectively isolate or dilute the clout of voters of colors. We see this pattern in the Midwest,” the Race in the Heartland report said.
The report said that Iowa and Wisconsin are two Midwestern states that have increased access to public pre-K programs recently.
“But, budgetary commitments have lagged and access to quality programs remains starkly stratified by race,” the report said.
The Race in the Heartland report analyzed budget cuts for the State Civil Right Commissions as of 2018 and found that Iowa made the second largest budget cut in the Midwest, cutting approximately 37% of the annual budget.
“As federal civil rights efforts languish, it is all the more important that state laws and state agencies pick up the slack,” the report said. “We need to ensure adequate funding for our civil rights enforcement in the states, without which ‘universal’ policies cannot live up their promise.”