By Matthew Bigg
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Black Americans still trail whites on such basics as income, education and health, a study showed on Wednesday, even as Sen. Barack Obama's barrier-breaking run for the presidency has renewed the national focus on race.
Across a range of economic indicators including measures of employment, poverty, housing, income and wealth, blacks were much worse off than whites. If whites scored 100 percent on such measures, blacks scored just 56.8 percent, a figure unchanged from last year, the National Urban League said.
On a broader index covering such issues as education, health, social justice and civic engagement, blacks stood at 73 percent, an increase of just 0.41 percentage points over last year, the league said.
Three times as many U.S. blacks as whites live below the poverty line, defined as an income of $20,000 for a family of four. The disparity between the races on unemployment narrowed slightly, but blacks were still twice as likely to be jobless.
The report, one of the most comprehensive on the subject, addresses more than 300 separate categories, which it uses to come up with an overall equality index.
"The disparities between black and white Americans remain consistent, nagging and substantial," League president Marc Morial told Reuters."The next (U.S.) president has to take the bull by the horns and change the nation's priorities and focus on domestic initiatives," he said in an interview. Continue reading