Magazine article The Futurist

An Uncertain Future for Black Americans

Magazine article The Futurist

An Uncertain Future for Black Americans

Article excerpt

In the near future, rising numbers of black Americans will attain high-status occupations and political positions, but a sizable minority of blacks will remain impoverished. This mixed forecast comes from an authoritative National Research Council report on the changing status of black Americans since 1940, A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society.

Over the 50-year period covered by the study, the status of black Americans has on average improved dramatically. Yet, one-third of the black population - and nearly half of all black children - still live in poverty. A major impediment to black progress has been the slow overall growth of the economy during the 1970s and 1980s, according to the report. Economic prosperity and rapid growth from the 1940s through the 1960s had been a great help to most blacks.

Barring significant policy changes, the report predicts several negative developments for blacks in the near future:

The rate of increase of the black middle class is likely to decline, although a substantial majority of black Americans will remain productive citizens.

Approximately one-third of the black population will continue to be poor, and the relative employment and earnings status of black men, now declining, is likely to deteriorate further. …

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