Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Region Still among Worst in Nation for Black-White Economic Disparity, Says Report

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Region Still among Worst in Nation for Black-White Economic Disparity, Says Report

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * African-Americans in the St. Louis region are more than three times as likely to be in poverty as whites here, giving the region one of the highest racial-economic disparities of any major urban area in America, according to a new report.

Responding to the report, released Wednesday by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said he would seek additional information about the St. Louis County data in particular.

"The racial disparity ... that's really troubling. It does show that we have a long way to go in that regard," said Stenger, who is a member of the council's board of directors. "I'd really like to dig down a little further into this information. My staff will be contacting their staff."

The report compares the situation in the bistate St. Louis region with other population centers nationally on education, housing, land use, health, crime and other topics.

Though the St. Louis region does well in areas such as education and housing, it stood out negatively in data regarding income differences between its white and black residents.

"Racial disparity continues to be a problem," says a summary accompanying the 124-page report, which ranks the region fifth- highest in racial disparity for poverty among the nation's 50 most populous regions.

"The median household income of black households in St. Louis is $31,200, compared to $61,200 for white households," the summary states. The unemployment level for blacks in the St. Louis labor force is 2.8 times higher than it is for whites, which puts St. Louis eighth-highest in that category.

The report also found a huge disparity in the St. Louis region in infant mortality, which is more than three times higher among blacks here than among whites. Nationally, the ratio is just over twice as high among blacks as whites.

In those and every other measure considered, "the St. Louis region has much higher gaps [between blacks and whites] than the United States average," Medora Kealy, one of the report's authors, told the council in a downtown St. Louis meeting at which the report was released Wednesday.

Other studies have previously identified racial economic disparity as a growing problem. …

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