Black Income Decline in Minnesota Termed “Disgraceful”

As I noted here, just-released Census Bureau data show that real median household income declined slightly in 2014, while the poverty rate increased slightly. Median incomes for all racial groups except whites were stable, while white median household income declined by 1.7%. I have seen no comment on this fact; certainly no suggestion that the federal government is responsible for the decline or has pursued policies inimical to the interests of white families.

Here in Minnesota, the Census numbers were slightly different, as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Black leaders say state has done too little on racial income disparity.”

Black political and community leaders on Thursday criticized Gov. Mark Dayton and his administration, saying he is not doing enough to address the vast racial disparity in Minnesota’s socioeconomic conditions, following a report that black household income plunged in the state last year.

The trend appears to be unique to black Minnesotans. They were the only racial group to regress economically, with their median household income dropping to $27,000 in 2014, down from $31,500 in 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That stands in stark contrast to other racial groups in Minnesota, whose household incomes grew or stabilized during the same period. …

[State Sen. Jeff Hayden] and other community leaders say that while the census information is alarming, it simply points out the disparities at all levels in the black community that they have seen building for years.

Rep. Rena Moran…called the census findings “disgraceful” and said the economic conditions of black Minnesotans had reached a “crisis” level that the rest of the state has largely ignored.

Why did median black income fall during 2014? I assume because a lot of Somali immigrants arrived in Minnesota in 2014, as in prior years, either directly from Somalia or from other states. Many of these recent immigrants have little or no income and a large majority are on welfare of various kinds. While I have no objection to criticizing our DFL-led state government, it doesn’t make sense to blame government policies without first understanding why the numbers changed as they did. If government policies are the cause, in all likelihood they are immigration policies. And I can’t help being struck by the difference between a nationwide decline in white incomes–no one cares–and a decline in black incomes that is limited to one state–it’s a disgrace!