The numbers speak for themselves.
In 1995, 15.8 percent of blacks living in Greater Cincinnati were unemployed. That number is now around 17.1 percent.
The poverty rate for blacks has also headed in the wrong direction – 34 percent to 35.7 percent today.
When it comes to median household income in the region, blacks earned 49 cents for every dollar white households earned in 1995. Today that figure is worse: just 42 cents for every dollar.
To underscore the impact on the local economy, consider this: If incomes for blacks had just kept pace with inflation, an additional $200 million in earnings would be available for families, an Enquirer analysis shows. If incomes doubled compared to 20 years ago, local black families would have nearly $2 billion in additional income.
That “missing” money could have been invested or used to buy homes. It could have been spent at stores to support local jobs. It could have helped build the region’s tax base.
And that’s just looking at one issue covered in a new report that paints a picture of stunning disparities in Greater Cincinnati from outcomes in the criminal justice system to child poverty.
The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio’s 164-page report, to be released Monday, echoes a State of Black Cincinnati report that the Avondale-based nonprofit organization released 20 years ago.
There have been two decades of discussions, well-intended programs and energy spent trying to fix the problems. Donna Jones Baker, president and CEO of the local Urban League, wonders “why are we still asking the same questions and why are we getting the same answers?”
The Clinton and Bush era economic booms passed Black Cincinnati by. When the economy crapped out in 2008, it never recovered. The figures are heartbreaking: three out of four black children under six live in a family below the poverty line. Three out of four. This, despite the fact that half of Cincinnati's population is black. Life expectancy here a full ten years less for black men than white men. Ten full years.
But of Greater Cincinnati's more than two million residents, only 12% are black. I know I talk about the streetcar and Mayor Cranley and the recent Sam DuBose shooting case on this blog, but even I was unaware that things were actually considerably worse than 20 years ago, although it's not surprising. But it sure seems like that Cincinnati's growth and success, part of the reason I moved here, passed a lot of people by.
That's got to change.