Income Gap Between Whites and Blacks Grows in D.C.

The income disparity between whites and blacks in D.C. has become one of America’s largest, according to new census data. On average, African Americans earned $1 for every $3.06 whites earned. Manhattan has the nation’s widest racial income gap, where whites earned $4.15 for every $1 of black income.

The Washington Post reports that there are a number of reasons causing this gulf to widen in D.C., including rising housing costs and the District’s lack of blue collar jobs. D.C. also has one of the nation’s largest income gaps between the poor and rich.

Demographers and city activists say the difference reflects four decades of upper- and middle-class blacks abandoning the city for the suburbs, coupled with a more recent resurgence of affluent whites moving to the District. Some speak of the city’s middle class as a vanishing phenomenon, propelled in part by rising housing prices.

“A lot of my friends and colleagues say they can’t afford to live in the District,” said Maudine Cooper, president of the Greater Washington Urban League. “Many of the people that moved to the suburbs would like to live closer to work, but it’s not possible.”

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