EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. POLICY BRIEF: Second in Series THE LIVES OF BLACKS IN TEXAS Income and Poverty

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1 POLICY BRIEF: Second in Series THE LIVES OF BLACKS IN TEXAS Income and Poverty March 30, 2013 Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD, Research Associate Jemel Aguilar, PhD, Research Associate Chunhui Ren, Postdoctoral Fellow Jennifer Alexander, Graduate Research Assistant EXECUTIVE SUMMARY During the 21st century s first decade, Texas Black/African American populations experienced significant decline in their economic status. This brief presents a general picture of the income and poverty characteristics of Texas Black/African Americans. Several findings are highlighted. First, in 2000 and 2010, Black/African Americans had the lowest overall median income among Texas major racial groups. Second, five Texas counties with 2010 Black/African American populations of more than 5,000 Hunt, Grass, Walker, Jasper, and Wharton experienced income decline. Third, Black/African Americans and Hispanics were highly overrepresented within Texas poor population. Fourth, in 2000 and 2010, more than 70% of African American female-headed households were in poverty. This brief starts with a discussion of median household income, and then examines poverty status, poverty distribution, and poverty change patterns. Next, a discussion regarding health insurance coverage status is presented. Finally, future potential research areas are presented. 01

2 INCOME Income level analyses provide fruitful background information about the economic situations of Texas different racial and ethnic groups. Identifying and acknowledging disparities among different groups helps draw attention to the negative impacts of income disparities, as well as Texas most impoverished areas. Unfortunately, the income data of different racial and ethnic groups show income disparity as a historical and contemporary issue, and one deserving of increased academic and political attention. A discussion of current income levels, differences among racial groups, and the changes between 2000 and 2010 is presented below. From 2000 to 2010, the rate of Black/African Americans income growth was much slower than the rate of the white population s income growth. Also, Black/African Americans median household income remained at a lower level than Hispanics, non-hispanic Whites, Asians and the average of all racial groups. Figure 1 displays racial groups income levels and income changes between 2000 and From 2000 to 2010 the overall median household income for all races combined grew from $39,927 to $49,646. Black/African Americans had the lowest figures in both 2000 and 2010 ($29,305 and $36,464 respectively), while the Hispanic population experienced income levels that were slightly higher. The figures for Non-Hispanic Whites far exceeded Black/African Americans and Hispanics, while Asians had the highest median household income in both 2000 and 2010 ($50,049 and $64,637 respectively). $70,000 Figure 1: Median Household Income by Race, Texas, $60,000 $50,000 $40,000 $30,000 $20,000 $10,000 $29,305 $36,464 $29,873 $37,019 $47,162 $61,049 $50,049 $64,673 $39,927 $49, $0 Black/African American Hispanic Non-Hisp White Asian All Races 02

3 In 2000 Texas median household income was $39,927, but Black/African Americans incomes varied across Texas counties (See Figure 2). East Texas counties had the most uniformity, where median incomes below $25,000 were commonplace. Central Texas, much of south Texas, and the counties around Houston and Dallas had higher median incomes, ranging between $25,000 and $32,000. In Figure 2, N/A was recorded for 18 counties. N/A means the county either did not have a Black/African American population or the population is so small that the income Figure 2: Median Household Income Among Black/African Americans by County, Texas, 2000 information must be concealed to protect privacy. In 2010, the income distribution pattern did not drastically change. However, more counties fell into the N/A category. This is partly attributed to the 2010 income data being based on statistical estimates rather than accurate information. In other words, many counties simply did not have enough Black/African American households to calculate reliable estimates. Figure 3: Median Household Income Among Black/African Americans by County, Texas,

4 Figure 4 illustrates the changes in Black/African American median household income from 2000 to Most of the Texas counties experienced income growth or no significant change. Among those counties that underwent income decline, most had a small Black/African American population and are found in the western and central regions. Five Texas counties with 2010 Black/African American populations of more than 5,000 Hunt, Grass, Walker, Jasper, and Wharton experienced income decline. Figure 4: Change in Median Household Income Among Black/African Americans by County, Texas

5 POVERTY Two measures are used to examine the poverty status of Texas Black/African Americans. The first measure is the percentage of Black/African Americans in the total poor population (e.g., if among 100 poor individuals, 20 are Black/African American, then the percentage is 20%), known as Black/African American Percentage. The second measure is the Black/African American poverty rate. The Black/African American poverty rate is the percentage of poor Black/African American individuals in the total Black/African American population (e.g., if among the 100 Black/African American individuals, 40 are poor, then the Black/African American poverty rate is 40%). BLACK/AFRICAN AMERICAN PERCENTAGE OF THE TOTAL POOR Figure 5 and Figure 6 show the percentage of the poor population by race and their percentages in the total population for 2000 and The graphs indicate Black/African Americans and Hispanics were highly overrepresented within Texas poor population, while Non-Hispanic Whites were highly underrepresented. In 2000, 16.84% of the total poor were Black/African Americans while their percentage in the total population was only 11.27%. 60% Figure 5: Percentage in Poor Population as Compared with Percentage in Total Population by Race, Texas, % 40% Percentage in Total Poor 30% 20% 10% 2.63% 2.09% 52.41% 26.51% 31.99% 53.20% 11.27% 16.84% 0% Black/African American Hispanic Non-Hisp White Asian Percentage in Total Population 05

6 In 2010, Black/African Americans percentage of the total poor decreased to 16.17% and their percentage in the total population increased to 11.56%, indicating a small degree of Black/African American poverty reduction. 60% 50% 40% Figure 6: Percentage in Poor Population as Compared with Percentage in Total Population by Race, Texas, 2010 Percentage in Total Poor 30% 20% 10% 3.67% 2.67% 46.42% 24.08% 36.68% 56.02% 11.56% 16.17% 0% Black/African American Hispanic Non-Hisp White Asian Percentage in Total Population 06

7 According to Figure 7 and Figure 8, Texas highest poverty levels were in predominantly Black/African American-populated areas. In addition to Central and East Texas, Black/African American poverty clustered around big metropolitan areas, including Harris and Dallas counties. Figure 7: Percentage of Black/African Americans in Total Poor Population by County, Texas, 2000 Figure 8: Percentage of Black/African Americans in Total Poor Population by County, Texas,

8 Table 1 presents a list of Texas counties with a Black/African American population of 5,000 or more and a Black/African American population percentage that is greater than 30% of the total poor population. Table 1: Black/African American Populous Counties (> 5,000) with the Highest Black/African American Percentage in the Total Poor in 2010 County Name Black/African American Percentage in the Total Poor Black/African American Percentage in Total Population Jefferson 50.61% 33.05% Houston 42.73% 25.92% Harrison 42.36% 21.43% Bowie 39.51% 23.01% Class 37.93% 17.52% Gregg 36.37% 19.82% Smith 35.74% 18.00% Waller 35.52% 23.74% Jasper 31.31% 16.02% Walker 30.60% 17.46% 08

9 Except for a few counties in north central and south central regions where total Black/African American population was relatively small, most of the counties experienced a poverty reduction during (See Figure 9). Figure 9: Change in Black/African American Percentage in the Total Poor by County, Texas,

10 Table 2 presents a list of populous Black/African American counties that underwent poverty increases. Most of these counties also had a growth in Black/African American poverty rate (percentage of the poor among Black/African American populations) and a relatively small increase in median household income, except for Brazoria County and Guadalupe County. While Brazoria County experienced a 0.44% increase in Black/African American percentage in the total poor, it also had 5.49% drop in Black/African American poverty rate along with a significant growth in Black/African American median household income by $26,439. Similarly in Guadalupe County, moderate poverty growth and huge income increase occurred simultaneously. These phenomena indicate factors other than declining incomes are contributing to those counties poverty growth. Table 2: Black/African American Populous Counties (>7,000) with a Positive Change in Black/African American Percentage in the Total Poor County Name Change in Black/African American Percentage in the Total Poor Change in Black/African American Poverty Rate Change in Black/African American Median HH Income Bexar 1.11% 2.92% $8,486 Fort Bend 3.20% 1.43% $12,267 Travis 0.27% 6.96% $1,431 Collin 3.47% 1.05% $2,846 Denton 2.07% 0.67% $7,258 Smith 2.37% 5.91% $2,270 Brazoria 0.44% -5.49% $26,439 Potter 2.06% 3.40% $3,059 Wichita 1.54% 4.99% $2,512 Coryell 0.12% 4.72% $8,253 Taylor 3.20% 7.20% $10,135 Guadalupe 2.92% 2.01% $28,511 10

11 POVERTY RATE Figure 10 presents poverty rate change, the change in the percentage of poor individuals among four racial groups, from 2000 to Black/African Americans ranked second among the four major racial groups in both 2000 and % and 23.55% respectively. Hispanics had the highest poverty rates (25.38% and 25.45%), while Non-Hispanic Whites had the lowest rates (7.76% and 8.68%). Asians had poverty rates slightly higher than Non-Hispanic Whites. As aforementioned, two measures of poverty are used (the Black/African American percentage of the total poor and the poverty rate). With the Black/African American percentage measure, Black/African American poverty status experienced a small degree of relief during With the second measure, however, Black/African American poverty rate increased slightly by 0.19%. This phenomenon indicates that Black/African American poverty status worsened but simultaneously experienced a slight improvement as compared with the state s overall conditions. 30% Figure 10: Poverty Rate Change by Race, Texas, % 20% 15% 10% 5% 23.36% 23.55% 25.38% 25.45% 7.76% 8.68% 11.87% 11.88% 15.37% 16.75% % Black/African American Hispanic Non-Hisp White Asian All Races 11

12 Figure 11 and Figure 12 illustrate Black/African American poverty rate distribution by county. Unlike the poverty distribution by the percentage of the poor measure (See Figure 7 and Figure 8), Black/African American poverty rates were more uniformly distributed among Texas counties. Most counties had an abovestate-average rate in both 2000 and 2010 (15.37% and 16.75%), indicating that Black/African Americans generally lived in high poverty environments no matter if they lived in Black/African American populous counties (East Texas) or Black/African American scarce counties (the rest). Figure 11: Poverty Rate among Black or African Americans by County, Texas, 2000 Figure 12: Poverty Rate among Black or African Americans by County, Texas,

13 From , most counties had a poverty rate decrease or no significant change (See Figure 13). Those with poverty growth were largely concentrated in south central areas, but can be found throughout the state. Figure 13: Change in Poverty Rate among Black or African Americans by County, Texas,

14 Some counties had a Black/African American poverty rate above 40%, which is the wellestablished extremely high poverty threshold. Table 3 presents a list of Black/African American-populous counties that fell into this extreme poverty category. There were several counties with sizeable Black/African American populations, extremely high poverty rates, increasing poverty rates, and decreasing median household incomes. These counties included Walker, Cass, Hunt, Shelby, and Wilbarger. Wilbarger County is especially notable as its Black/African American poverty rate reached as high as 71.24% after a 39.08% growth from 2000 to Table 3: Black/African American Populous Counties (>1,000) with Extremely-High Black/African American Poverty Rates in 2010 County Name Black/African American Poverty Rate 2010 Poverty Rate Change Median HH Income Change Leon 40.31% -0.75% $4,546 Walker 41.68% 8.56% -$241 Cass 41.88% 4.16% -$1,314 Nacogdoches 42.64% -2.01% $3,834 Hunt 43.33% 13.30% -$1,496 San Jacinto 44.09% 6.88% $3,951 Marion 44.37% 5.91% $2,997 Kleberg 45.86% -2.32% -$153 Tyler 46.65% 3.59% $10,696 Trinity 48.53% 9.13% $1,772 Shelby 48.96% 14.87% $377 Wilbarger 71.24% 39.08% $4,528 14

15 POVERTY AND FAMILY STATUS The same two measures, the Black/African American percentage of the total poor and the poverty rate, are used to examine Black/African American poverty by family status. Figure 14 shows the breakdown of Black/African American poor families in 2000 and Female-headed families represented the largest percentages of impoverished Black/African American families, reaching 70.36% in 2000 and 73.33% in As a result, female-headed families should be the primary targets of poverty reduction efforts. It is also worth noting that the percentage of male-headed families increased during So as a general trend, singleparent families are experiencing poverty increase while married-couple families are experiencing poverty reduction. 80% Figure 14: Breakdown of Poor Black/African America Families by Family Status, Texas, % 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 21.47% 16.99% 8.17% 9.67% 70.36% 73.33% % Married-Couple Family Male-Headed Family Female-Headed Family 15

16 In 2000 and 2010, female-headed households were the most impoverished with about 35% of families living in poverty (See Figure 15). Married-couple families had the lowest poverty rates. Male-headed families had a moderate poverty rate but experienced poverty growth, while married-couple families underwent poverty reduction. 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Figure 15: Change in Black/African American Poverty Rate by Family Status, Texas, % 6.90% Married-Couple Family 21.55% 22.45% Male-Headed Family 35.08% 34.59% Female-Headed Family 20.40% Total 19.95%

17 INSURANCE COVERAGE Figure 16 presents the health insurance coverage status of Texas four major racial groups. In 2011, 20.47% of Black/African Americans did not have health insurance. This uninsurance rate was higher than Non-Hispanic Whites, but lower than Asians and Hispanics, and below the state average. The lack of health insurance coverage among Black/African Americans might discourage their consumption and investment behavior (Currie & Madrian, 1999). Its impacts on various aspects of Black/African American lives require further investigation. Figure 16: Percentage of Population without Health Insurance by Race, Texas, % 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 20.47% 13.51% 22.21% 35.16% 22.98% Percent of Uninsured 0% Black/African American Non-Hisp White Asian Hispanic All Races 17

18 CONCLUDING THOUGHTS Analyzing and understanding the demography of Texas Black/African Americans presents many noteworthy issues, several of which are worthy of further investigation. Five worthwhile research questions are presented below. Why did Texas Black/African American populations experience poverty reduction as measured by the percentage of the total poor, and, at the same time, undergo poverty growth as measured by poverty rate? What factors distinguish counties with a poverty reduction from those with a poverty growth? What happened in counties with extremely high poverty rates (40% or higher), and what policy interventions are needed to stop and reverser the declining trend? What characteristics of female-headed families keep them from getting out of poverty, and what policy interventions are needed to help them? In what specific ways does the lack of health insurance affect Black/African American families quality of life? Further research would provide improved insight into Texas populations of color and help inform subsequent policy formation. The next brief in The Lives of Blacks in Texas series will examine housing issues. 18

19 REFERENCES Currie, J., & Madrian, B. C. (1999). Health, health insurance and the labor market. In C. A. Orley & D. Card (Eds.), Handbook of Labor Economics (pp ). Amsterdam: Elsevier. U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). U.S. Census 2000 [SF3]. Retrieved from U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). American Community Survey : Five-year estimates. Retrieved from U.S. Census Bureau. (2011). American Community Survey 2011: One-year estimates. Retrieved from 19

20 The Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis The University of Texas at Austin Vision To become the major policy research organization that identifies, proposes, and measures solutions to social justice problems that disproportionately affect populations of color and their communities. King Davis, PhD Director & Professor Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD Research Scientist Kathryn A. Freeman, JD Policy Coordinator Victor O. Obaseki, JD Policy Coordinator Celeste Henery, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Albert Thompkins, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Chunhiu Ren, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Leonie Jones, BA Administrative Associate Jennifer Alexander, BA Graduate Research Assistant Geography Department Adia A. Brooks, BA Graduate Research Assistant African and African Diaspora Studies Kristy Gillespie, MSW Graduate Research Assistant School of Social Work Lorna Hermasura, ME Graduate Research Assistant School of Education Jina Jung, MSW Graduate Research Assistant School of Social Work Seth A. Kessler, MPA Graduate Research Assistant Kinesiology Department Marian Morris, MPH, RN Graduate Research Assistant School of Nursing 20

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