Study ranks Waterloo-Cedar Falls as worst urban area for blacks in U.S.
The ranking by 24/7 Wall Street, and published in
, rated the median incomes of blacks in the Cedar Valley as only 47 percent of the amount earned by white residents.
Unemployment for whites in the years studied was 4.4 percent. For blacks, it was 23.9 percent.
A total of almost 33 percent of blacks owned homes in Cedar Falls and Waterloo. The percentage of white ownership was 73 percent.
Cary Darrah, president of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber, pointed out the census figures looked worse because the information came from the years 2012-2016.
The census data from 2017 put black unemployment in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metro area at 10 percent. That was still considerably higher than the white unemployment figures but much lower than 24 percent.
Robert Smith, director of the UNI Urban Education Center, says you can quibble about how study authors chose the numbers.
But bottom line, the study is a call for the entire community to work on the problem.
"Having lived here for 30 years, it's something you don't want to read about, negative like that. But my first reaction is it should remind us there are things we can do better in the community," Smith said.
Smith says some people will point to the election of Quentin Hart in 2015, Waterloo's first black mayor, as a signs things must be getting better for minorities in the city.
But he says one person alone can't change an entire system.