New study shows Iowa as third worst state for Black Americans

Other Midwest states complete the Top 5
Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 10:31 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - A new study released by a financial news and opinion company from Delaware shows Iowa as the third worst state for Black Americans. Illinois and Wisconsin, both in the tri-state area, are in the Top 5 with Wisconsin being ranked as the worst state for Black Americans.

24/7 Wall St., the organization in charge of the study, created an index consisting of eight measures to assess race-based gaps in socioeconomic outcomes: median household income, poverty, adult high school and bachelor’s degree attainment, homeownership, unemployment rates, prisoners under the jurisdiction of state or federal correctional authorities by race per 100,000 residents, and age-adjusted mortality rate by race.

Caprice Jones, executive director of the Fountain of Youth program in Dubuque, has spent years working with Black Americans to address generational poverty.

”If a person is used to seeing a lack of opportunities and seeing disappointment and hopelessness and failure within themselves then they give up before they even start,” Jones recalled from both his experiences and what he has heard from the people he has worked with.

The study, for example, says, in Iowa 31.9 percent of Black residents live in poverty while 10.1 percent of White residents do. Jones said he would like to see a change in mindset from state leaders.

”I believe people have the ability to make policies flexible and so we have an opportunity to open up doors, opportunities for individuals that are not usually getting those opportunities,” he mentioned.

And that is where the Dubuque NAACP comes in. Part of their work includes getting Black Americans registered to vote. Its president, Anthony Allen, said that ensures people running for office will make an effort to hear what Black people have to say.

”If they have got garbage they are selling you, they have got to come and try to sell that garbage to you,” he explained. “If you are not registered, they do not have to come to you because they know the other person is not going to come to talk to you either because your vote is not even counting.”

Allen recognizes most African Americans vote on presidential elections, but he said they need to do so on local races as well, including city council, school boards, and county sheriff.

”When you have a say-so into all of that then you can blame yourself if it is not working,” he added. “Right now you cannot blame yourself if you are not voting.”

The study also shows that, in Iowa, less than 25 percent of Black people are homeowners. Even though they said these are discouraging figures, both Jones and Allen said they were hopeful for the future.

“Hopefully, whenever they do the study again, they can show not only that home ownership changed, but the poverty rate changed, the graduation rate changed, everything that has been keeping us disenfranchised when it comes to voting, hopefully all of that has changed,” Allen commented.

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