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10 Best possible States for Racial Equality in Poverty Charges | Best possible States

By December 10, 202313 Comments

Poverty in America is more than purely an economic issue, with researchers recently estimating it was associated with over 180,000 deaths in 2019 alone. Data also illuminates the uneven struggle with poverty in the U.S.

Between 2017 and 2021, about 13% of Americans on average were living at or below the poverty line, based on a U.S. News analysis of figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Yet that rate varied among different racial and ethnic groups: While only about 9% of white Americans experienced poverty during that time frame, rates were much higher for the American Indian and Alaska Native community (25%) and for the Black community (22%).

[ MORE: The 10 Best States for Racial Equality in Unemployment ]

Breaking down the data further shows how gaps between racial and ethnic groups can persist and vary at the state level. As part of the Racial Equality in America project, U.S. News compared the poverty rates for racial and ethnic groups in a state to the rate of the state’s overall population, calculating the average disparity between the two categories. States were ranked based on the size of their disparity, with higher values resulting in a worse ranking for racial equality in poverty rates. Disparities in poverty rates are reflected as an average absolute percentage-point difference.

As an example, Minnesota and Maryland had relatively low poverty rates overall from 2017 to 2021, at about 9.2% for each state. In Minnesota, however, one-third of the American Indian and Alaska Native population and one-fourth of Black individuals were in poverty, pointing to a higher level of disparity given the wide departures from the state’s overall mark. In Maryland, assessable racial and ethnic groups experienced poverty at more similar rates and closer to the state’s overall rate on average, amounting to a lower level of disparity.

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These are the 10 best states for racial equality in poverty rates as assessed by U.S. News. Learn more about the Racial Equality in America project in our methodology.

Next:10. Idaho


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Felecia Phillips Ollie DD (h.c.) is the inspiring leader and founder of The Equality Network LLC (TEN). With a background in coaching, travel, and a career in news, Felecia brings a unique perspective to promoting diversity and inclusion. Holding a Bachelor's Degree in English/Communications, she is passionate about creating a more inclusive future. From graduating from Mississippi Valley State University to leading initiatives like the Washington State Department of Ecology’s Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Felecia is dedicated to making a positive impact. Join her journey on our blog as she shares insights and leads the charge for equity through The Equality Network.

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