In the Economic Struggle to Afford Higher Education, Blacks Losing Further Ground to Whites

One of the major roadblocks to black progress in higher education is money. With the costs of college rising and federal and state cuts in financial aid to low-income students, it is becoming harder for many black families to send their children to college. Since President Bush took office in 2001, the economic outlook for black families in the United States has deteriorated significantly.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in 2005 the median black family income declined by nearly one percent whereas the median white family income increased by one half of one percent. The median black family income in the United States in 2005 was 60.8 percent of the median white family income. This is approximately the same black-to-white ratio that existed 40 years ago.

The percentage of all African Americans living below the federal government’s official poverty line increased from 24.7 percent in 2004 to 24.9 percent in 2005. At the same time, the percentage of all white Americans living in poverty dropped from 8.7 percent to 8.3 percent.

The current data continues the trend since President Bush took office. From 2001 to 2004, the median black family income dropped 3 percent. When President Bush took office, the black poverty rate was 22.5 percent. It has now increased to 24.9 percent.