February 12, 2024
McKinsey Report: It Could Take More Than 3 Centuries For Black Americans To Reach Racial Parity
The main takeaway from the report is that unless progress accelerates, it will take between 110 and 320 years to eliminate the gaps between Black and White Americans.
A report, titled The State Of Black Residents: The Relevance Of Place To Racial Equity And Outcomes, shows substantial gaps between Black and white residents in nearly every county in America.
The main takeaway from the report is that unless progress accelerates, it will take between 110 and 320 years to eliminate the gaps between Black and white Americans, and because the country has worked at a snail’s pace in addressing both economic and social gaps for Black Americans. Additionally, not eliminating these gaps shortchanges the broader economy and the full potential of both Black Americans and the country as a whole.
The McKinsey report states there is virtually nowhere in the United States where outcomes for Black residents are equal to those of their white counterparts, and most places that are close to racial parity are small rural counties where the outcomes are poor for all residents, regardless of race.
In the report, McKinsey looked at more than 3,000 counties nationwide and sorted them into 13 community profiles based on economic metrics, size, and other characteristics to examine geographic variation in the economic, social, and physical well-being of residents in general and of Black residents.
The community profiles range from megacities (New York, Miami, Dallas, and Los Angeles) to trailing rural economies (Danville, VA, Coahoma, MS).
According to the report, less than 0.1% of Black Americans live in a county that is close to racial parity.
The study determined outcomes for Black Americans are generally better in suburban and high-growth areas (Austin, TX; Charlotte, NC; Minneapolis, MN.). In these areas, Black Americans lead in metrics including median household income, workers in management roles, and bachelor’s degree attainment. However, Black residents are also underrepresented in these areas.
On the other side of the spectrum, stable rural counties and trailing rural counties, which are home to about 15% of Black Americans, rank at the bottom for outcomes of Black Americans due to poverty, food insecurity, and lack of health insurance. Although they rank highly in housing due to a lower rent burden and higher homeownership rates.
Black Americans are overrepresented in megacities, where more than 30% live. These areas have strong economies, above-average Black household incomes, high college degree attainment, and workers in management roles. But the positives come with high costs of living, long commutes, and outsize rent burdens that make it hard for Black Americans to attain and pass on wealth, unlike their white counterparts.
The McKinsey report does show that outcomes for Black Americans have improved over the last decade in most counties across the country but adds that quality of life is improving for everyone and progress is taking significantly longer to reach Black Americans as the gains have not been fast or substantial enough to make up for disadvantaged starting points.
The report was authored by McKinsey & Company partners JP Julien, Duwain Pinder, and Shelley Stewart III, a senior partner who leads the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility.