We trace the origins of racial inequality in the Midwest to the deep imprint of racial segregation, which concentrated the regions’ African American population in relatively few urban counties—and then erected a forbidding architecture of residential segregation within those urban settings. In turn, the historical arc of economic opportunity saw African Americans flock to new opportunities in the industrializing Midwest in the middle years of the last century, and then be disproportionately hit by the de-industrialization that followed.
Of course, no ranking should obscure the fact that there is no city doing complete justice to black women’s lives. According to “The Status of Black Women in the United States” report, produced by The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, black women overall saw their median annual earnings decline by 5 percent between 2004 and 2014 despite the fact that the share of black women with at least a bachelor’s degree increased by 23.9 percent in that same time period. Today, black women earn roughly 61 cents for every dollar made by white men across the nation.
So the question of where black women move is often a matter of which city will fleece them the least.
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