Income For African Americans Fell In Last Decade, Census Says

New Census data show that African Americans in Arizona saw their per capita income drop from 2006 to 2015, the only racial or ethnic group in the state to see a drop. (Photo by 401(K) 2012/Creative Commons)

By Nathan J. Fish

WASHINGTON – Per capita income for African Americans in Arizona fell over the last decade, the only racial or ethnic group that did not see an increase for the period 2006 to 2015, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

But the news was not all good for the other groups: When adjusted for inflation, per capita incomes for all groups in Arizona dropped, with Asians seeing their buying power fall 2.7 percent and African Americans seeing a 9.3 percent drop.

Experts say the changes were driven by the recession and the mortgage crisis of the late 2000s, both of which hit Arizona hard – and blacks particularly hard.

The data were drawn from the most recent edition of the Census’ American Community Survey and then adjusted for 2015 inflation. It showed that inflation-adjusted per capita income for Arizonans as a whole dropped 7.4 percent and for African Americans it fell 9.3 percent.

“Arizona was one of the hardest hit states with regards to the housing crisis,” said Mark Alston, public affairs chairman of the National Association Real Estate Brokers. “We realize that African Americans lost somewhere between 87 and 90 percent of their wealth, mostly tied up in home equity during the housing crisis.”


– Cronkite News graphic by Nathan J. Fish

In the two five-year surveys, African American per capita income in Arizona, adjusted for inflation, fell from $21,943 to $19,901, while the income of all Arizonans dropped from $27,914 to $25,848.

The hit on black wallets was not surprising to Marvin Owens Jr., senior director of the economic department for the NAACP.

“I think that one of the things that we see in our community that has been particularly devastating has been the fallout from the mortgage crisis has hit African American families and individuals harder,” Owens said.

Owens said when the mortgage crisis happened and because African American families became homeowners “very late in the game.” They “lost just a significant amount of home equity and home equity is our wealth and really creates our economic stability.”ÿ

Lee McPheters, professor of economics at W. P. Carey School of Business, said unemployment could also have been a factor for the drop in income.

“African-American unemployment rates tend to be higher than the unemployment rate for whites or all combined workers,”ÿMcPheters said.

McPheters said the biggest component of income is wages and salaries, “so if a demographic group is working less, they are going to have less income.”

“Black per capita income remains significantly below the overall per capita income in Arizona and at the national level,” he said.

And McPheters said that the recession’s impact on the state can be seen in the fact that, “Per capita income fell for all persons (in the U.S.) between the 2006-2010 and 2011-2015 study periods, but fell more in Arizona.”

Alston said one other possibility for falling incomes in Arizona could be masses of people moving to other states to escape the recession.

“Perhaps there’s an exodus of people looking for jobs,” he said. “We’ve watched businesses relocate.”

“We’ve lost industry, we’ve lost our base that provided the economic engine and the capacity for African Americans and then the loss of housing and the lack of ability to restore that housing,” he said. “We’re not seeing the opportunity to recreate the wealth to re-stabilize the communities.”

Owens said that economic hardships due to a recession and housing collapse in Arizona have been compounded by lingering racism that he blames for playing a big part in the African American income gap.

He said that in Arizona there is “a real history of economic discrimination that continues to this day. I think that African American communities are experiencing a really tough time in Arizona.”

“There’s this, I’m not sure what to call it besides just blatant racism, lack of willingness to recognize the value African Americans in that state and it’s really stunning quite honestly,” he said. “I’m not surprised by the data related to wages and the income gap in the state of Arizona for African Americans.”

“I’m not surprised by Arizona, but it’s the sad reality,” he said.


– Cronkite News graphic by Nathan J. Fish

9 Comments on "Income For African Americans Fell In Last Decade, Census Says"

  1. economic discrimination against blacks in Arizona ? I would say no more than what is self incurred. Not a word of the white loss of 7.9% the next largest demographic group ? Was the ‘slump’ hard, still is – it’s never been the same and it won’t be – way to much socialism in place. The employers now being the healthcare system – WHY? Benefits are no longer benefits they are demands! Rewards for good workers have become the rule of all or none get them… social BS. When the risk to the real engine of economic well being the small business person becomes so over burden with rule and demand, less jobs are created because there is not sufficient reward to ‘risk it all’ everyday.. employers with 10 or less employee’s are the “engine of sustained economic prosperity” that represent 70+ % of all the jobs in the nation, keep forcing higher minimum wages, more expenses of all types on micro business for labor and that engine that makes larger yet profitable small company’s will evaporate. That is what we have seen. Just look at open retail space that stays open – no mom and pop’s to mom and pop the economy.

  2. And not one mention of the tens of thousands of illegals that Tucson invites and harbors so the white guilt liberals can have their second class of residents to clean their toilets and maintain their yards for dirt cheap pay?

    Of course many are fleeing Tucson for jobs, because there are none here and will not be. Liberals have won. No growth, no jobs, no future. Americans of every color lose.

  3. Democrat policies once again bear fruit. The Black Middle class grew in Bush’s term, less government, but still too large and then came Obama’s lies, vote for me everything will be cheaper. Statistics don’t lie, Socialism fails every time.

  4. Owens said that economic hardships due to a recession and housing collapse in Arizona have been compounded by lingering racism that he blames for playing a big part in the African American income gap.

    Yea, lets play the race card some more. Its not about education, work ethic, ILLEGALS taking jobs away from all races or anything like that is it? Naw, thought not, its out and out racism. So tired of being blamed for all the ills of this country. How utterly pathetic that this old white man is blamed for ALL of the ills of this country. Shootings in all the major cities, killing cops, black on black crime (Chicago, Baltimore, LA, Washington, etc) and its all my fault. Slavery has been over since the 1860’s and yet its still alive and well today. Look at the urban plantations where the government (you remember LBJ and his great new society, right?) where the government gives you something for nothing. Have more kids and you get more something for nothing. Yea, its all about racism. Just wonder when the are going to demand to start burning all the history books so their can write theirs. Oh, wait, its starting now. Don’t like it, change history with the racism cry. The liberals have won. But I sure the hell won’t sell my white card.

  5. The Oracle of Tucson | August 19, 2017 at 8:03 am | Reply

    Thank you Nathan J. Fish of CRONKITE NEWS for sharing what amounts to little more then racial propaganda, more feel good fake news from the agenda driven radical left instead of any real news of real substance.
    If this is an sample of journalistic ethics then CRONKITE news might as well change its name to Goebbels Propaganda.
    Without mentioning any reason beyond racism and discrimination for the economical downturn that affected every person of every color in every the state, this second rate hit piece singles out blanks living in Arizona as the only victims of past economical failures.
    We’ve all been hurt in the last decade of economical decline, to claim that blacks alone have been hurt the most is a waste of journalistic skills and ink.
    Failures to thrive economically exist in every arena, the lack of jobs affects EVERYONE not just blacks alone. The lack of an educated work force effects EVERYONE not just blacks. The lack of advanced technological knowledge effects EVERYONE not just blacks.
    The federal demands on businesses suppresses the opportunity of growth which would allow increases of employment opportunities, but nope according to Mr. Fish and his sources, it’s a heaping helping of white guilt. Wow, how deliberately surprisingly that no ratios of the Hispanic population were used to compare economic disparity against blacks.
    Did anyone else notice the timing of the article magically coincides with the unrest of the protesters over civil war monuments?
    Just more tactics of the left to deflect, distract and overwhelm the masses.
    This isn’t news, it’s little more then racially motivated propaganda.

    The Oracle

  6. when is the ‘alt middle America’ going to demonstrate ? The radical left meeting the radical right.. to many free electrons – the balanced middle is what this nation used to be made of, who turned this election away from the left.. “Thank God” this left is what would have been in power now, what wants to turn this election over today, that wants the constitution torn up and burned.. NO THANKS – defending the nation – the oath once taken, pray that it is never needed to be utilized again. God Bless America – for now there is two the Amerika of the left with its radicals, the alt right with it’s supremacists.. and the working class Americans caught in the middle – wanting a good life, hard work, peace in the hood and God as their guide… the endangered species.

    • Billy, we are too busy working and paying for about 80% of those on the alt left and right to live and attend the protests. We simply don’t have time to take off work and drive a1000 miles and demonstrate. Who would pay us??? George Soros, the federal government? The state government or our own credit card that we could have to pay off ourself. I am very afraid what will happen later this year and near election time next year. Any bets on more bloodshed?

  7. the collapse is being televised – propagandized – militarized – goated to violence – its the only way then can step in with more force.

  8. This is the sad and expected outcome
    of deliberately flooding the country with
    illegal aliens. As long as minorities continue
    to bow to the liberal/Progressive politicians
    who use them, there will be no change.

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