Issues & Insights

A Modest Proposal For Narrowing U.S. Income Inequality

Black Lives Matter protest in New York. Source: The All-Nite Images, Wikimedia Commons

America’s minority groups face a host of important economic issues, despite the current focus on police brutality. Indeed, when it comes to addressing inequality, economic, education and family issues are far more important than police brutality.

Real median household income by race in 2018 illustrates wide income disparities in the U.S.: Asian real median household income is $87,194, White $68,100 and Hispanic $51,450. Black median household income, by comparison, is $41,361.

Black household income is $45,800 below that of Asian American households. How can this be?  Is race why the household income of Asian Americans is more than double that of African Americans? Or are there other reasons?

First, consider years of education. The premise is that more years of education, in general, is associated with higher income.

High school graduation rates is one measure. For Asian Americans, the high school graduation rate is 92%, higher than for Whites (89%), Hispanic (81%) or Black Americans (79%). Similarly, the percentages that complete a 4-year college degree are Asians 58.1%, non-Hispanic whites 40.1%, Black Americans 26.1% and Hispanics 18.8%.

Employment, labor force participation, incomes and improvements in human capital are tied to education and skills. Parents want their children to have a high school education and most parents support school choice and education saving accounts, including Hispanics and African-Americans, as a way to achieve a quality high school education.

Yet, the National Education Association opposes both school choice and vouchers and supports the political party that also opposes school choice and vouchers. That position is detrimental to productivity gains and economic growth for all Americans.

The household income gap of Asian-Americans over other groups in the U.S. can likely be traced to their education levels and family characteristics. One characteristic that receives little attention is the percentage of children within each group born to single mothers.

The numbers are stark.

For Asian-Americans in 2018 it was 11.7%, White 28.2%, Hispanic 51.8% and Black 69.4%.  Imbedded in higher household incomes for Asian-Americans vs. other racial groups may be that the presence of a two-parent family leads to a better education and income experience for their children.

The idea of a two-parent household being a positive for children has been widely accepted for decades. But that acceptance may be fading as major social institutions and organizations no longer emphasisze the importance of two-parent families.  

A major portion of the difference between Asian and Black household income may reflect two parents working in Asian households, and one person working with fewer years of education in Black households. This difference has nothing to do with race, but with the family choices that people make.  

Police brutality, as indicated, appears to be less important compared to other issues. An issue of major importance is the high number of Black homicides in 2018, 7,407, vs 6,008 for white. Blacks make up only 13.5% of the U.S. population, yet they have more homicides. Estimates show that nearly 90% of Black homicides are Black on Black. Likewise, over 80% of white homicides are white on white.

Data on fatal police shootings of unarmed victims in 2019 are preliminary. But there may have been a range of 25 to 30 unarmed white victims and 15 to 20 unarmed Black victims. This is just 0.5% of all white homicide victims and a mere 0.2% of all Black homicide victims.

These deaths from police shootings are tragic, but they are overwhelmed by the total number of white and Black homicides. As such, it’s not far-fetched to suggest that the best way to narrow inequalities in our society might be to push for school choice and encourage the highly successful two-parent model for children, instead of blaming law enforcement for every racial disparity.

Mike Cosgrove, principal at Econoclast, a Dallas-based capital markets firm, is a professor at the University of Dallas

We Could Use Your Help

Issues & Insights was founded by seasoned journalists from the IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to use our decades of experience to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day.

We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we think our approach to commentary is sorely lacking both in today’s mainstream media and on the internet. You can help us keep our mission going. If you like what you see, feel free to visit our Donations Page by clicking here. And be sure to tell your friends!

You can also subscribe to I&I: It's free!

Just enter your email address below to get started.

5 comments

  • “Yet, the National Education Association opposes both school choice and vouchers and supports the political party that also opposes school choice and vouchers.”

    Naturally. Like Unions, the NEA is a parasitical organization. In exchange for their monopoly on public education funds, the DNC gets votes. Pure and blatant corruption.

    This is why, for the sake of our country, we must have universal school vouchers. The idiology of leftists cannot compete on a fair playing field – it has taken decades of control of both lower and upper education, the media, and entertainment just for the Progressive left not to be considered a lunatic fringe, let alone to achieve actual parity. Why? Because their ideas are irrational, unworkable, and lead only to totalitarianism. End their monopoly on education / indoctrination, end their ability to continue destroying our country.

  • What a load of crap. Communists propose the same things as you and you also make a lot of false assumptions as if they are accepted facts. Very poor article with zero research done. Also, when you instruct people not to emphasize their words using all caps by writing “DO NOT USE ALL CAPS” you are making a joke out of yourselves. You get a big fail from me. I’m sure you won’t publish this either. I don’t really care what you allow to be published.

    • You cared enough to post.

      I’m surprised the left hasn’t censored this article – it is extremely dangerous if their adherents consider it, as it illustrates that the OBJECTIVES leftists claim to be pursuing are actually more achievable through CAPITALIST (pun intended) means.

  • operated a couple of drug and sundry stores. This all started around 1971. Globalism/Free Trade and…Trickle Down, Top Down,Globalist Predatory Monopoly Economics/Politics. and the problem has evolved to such that now the Globalist Economic Ruling Elites name the tune and Americans in particular dance to it. Wall street Globalist owned Hedge Funds and predatory Globalists have eliminated whole categories of goods and all American brands, in that they are now just labels and the goods are the cheapest and lowest quality with only those with the highest profitability on the market. Consumerism and increased profitability is now their plan.
    Service and quality and warranty does not make money in Consumerism and neither does long range investment or maintaining a company. Buy one today, it breaks buy anther one tomorrow., is their theory. They got rid of Blue Laws protecting American Workers Rights and a Days pay for a day’s labor., claiming ti restrained their Rights their businesses. Too much to try to squeeze into a few words.but…Citizens united dealt a sever blwo to ur Political system and Americans’ economies, our pocketbooks. All the wealth now streams to the Few Globalist Predatory Monoply Owners and their is no Supply and Demand, and so on.

  • [print-me target="#post-%ID%"]

Subscribe to Issues & Insights via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to I&I and you can receive notifications of new articles in your email. It’s simple, and free.

Join 4,032 other subscribers

Donations

If you like what you see, feel free to leave a donation. You can also set up regular donations if you like. Just click on the Tip Jar above. It will take you to a PayPal donations page. Your contributions will help us defray the cost of running this site. (Please note that we are not set up as a charitable organization, so donations aren't tax deductible.) Thank you!

About Issues & Insights

Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

%d bloggers like this: