Blacks Still Lag Behind Whites

Race black african american
Black Americans are less likely than white Americans to own homes, don't earn as much as whites, don't live as long, and don't do as well in school, according to a report by the National Urban League.

The report, released on Wednesday, is a collection of survey data and essays by experts in race, social justice, health, psychology and civil rights.

For the first time, the League calculated a numerical index for how African-Americans are doing, reports CBS News Correspondent Dan Raviv. Overall, they have 73 percent of the status and earning power white Americans enjoy, 56 percent of the economic standing, and 78 percent of the health — they're much harder-hit by diabetes and AIDS than whites.

"Much has been achieved but I think the point of this is that there's still a distance to go," Urban League President Marc Morial told Raviv. "Closing the gap has got to be the mission for the country. We celebrate the progress, but recommit to closing the gap."

The Urban League report found that blacks are denied mortgages and home improvement loans at twice the rate of whites.

About 68 percent of Americans own their homes, but the Census Bureau has reported that ownership among blacks and Hispanics is about 48 percent. Nearly 54 percent of Asian-Americans own their homes, compared with 75 percent of whites.

"All too often when people talk about these issues it gets ... opinionated. We thought it was important to put out a set of facts that, frankly, don't lie," Morial, a former New Orleans mayor who was named president of the 93-year-old civil rights group last May.

The report also found that, 50 years after the Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education, decreed segregated public schools unconstitutional, the performance of black students continues to trail that of their white counterparts.

The 2000 census found that 91.8 percent of white students graduated from high school, compared with 83.7 percent of black students.

"The as-yet unfinished process of implementing Brown has turned out to be nearly as slow as the process of tearing down the Jim Crow system that allowed the educational segregation challenged in Brown," Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree Jr. said in one of the report's essays.

The report also found:

  • Teachers with less than three years of experience are twice as likely to work in predominantly minority schools as they are in predominantly white schools.
  • On average, blacks are twice as likely to die from disease, accident and homicide than whites; the life expectancy for blacks is 72 years, or six years less than that of whites.
  • The average prison sentence for a black person is six months longer than that for whites.
  • "You have increases in the number of doctors and lawyers," said Morial. "On the other hand, the economic condition of African-Americans seems to have deteriorated."