I-News 'Losing Ground' Study: Blacks, Latinos falling behind

6:33 PM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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I-News analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data from 1960 through 2010 to calculate the Latino, black and white demographics for high school and college graduation rates for adults 25 years and older, poverty of all people in each group, median family income and home ownership rates for households occupied by each group. Median family income was used as a measurement because median household income was not a category in 1960 and 1970.

SLIDESHOW: Losing ground

For 1960 and 1970, I-News used the 1 percent Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) unweighted from the Minnesota Population Center website at the University of Minnesota. This allowed us to distinguish African American numbers from the total non-white category used in the published Census tables. We also used the PUMs to retrieve poverty information for whites, not Hispanic. For several states, including some in New England and some in the Intermountain West, the black and Latino populations were very small in 1960 and 1970.

There were major, self-acknowledged problems with the Census Bureau's 1970 attempt to count Latinos. There was, for example, confusion in the Midwest and South over the Latino question that had many white residents mistakenly identifying as Latinos. In addition, residents in several Mideast states were only asked if they were from Puerto Rico. The PUMS data mitigated these problems, but did not eliminate them entirely.


When it comes to some of the most important measures of social progress - income, poverty, education and home ownership - the gaps between minorities and whites in Colorado are worse now than they were before the Civil Rights Movement. An I-News Network analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data dating back to 1960 reveals that the most recent decades haven't been kind to aspirations of equality by the state's black and Latino residents.

College graduation rates among blacks and Latinos are less than half of those for white adults. Poverty rates are almost three times higher. And less than half of minority households own their own homes, compared to seven of nine white households. Strikingly, the racial and ethnic disparities in Colorado for most economic and educational measures were below the national average during the first of the decennial studies covered by the analysis. However, most of those gaps in Colorado are greater today than the national average, I-News found.

Read the full report here.


National experts and community activists and politicians say the rise of the single parent household and the number of children born to single mothers are major factors in the widening disparities between the races.

"There's nothing that impacts those issues _ issues of economics, their education, their quality of life _ more than the economic challenges faced by single mothers," said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. "The family structure has disintegrated in a sense."

Men of color, particularly blacks, are also incarcerated at a much greater rate than whites, which community leaders attribute to the war on drugs and mandatory sentencing.

Read the full report here or watch it below:


In the late 1960s, the giant CF&I steel plant on the southern end of Pueblo was the economic driving engine and racial equalizer with 13,000 jobs for Colorado's southernmost large city. Two decades later, most of those jobs disappeared and the educational economic disparities between the city's Latino and white residents began to widen. Manufacturing jobs have diminished from 14 percent of all jobs in 1970 to 7.5 percent in 2010, according to an I-News analysis.

One in four Latino workers in Colorado had a manufacturing job in 1970. Today, it is less than one in 10. Federal government jobs, another source of employment for minority families, have also dwindled in scope, falling from 5.8 percent of all jobs in Colorado in 1970 to 3.2 percent in 2010, the analysis found. The changing Colorado economy is a root source of growing inequities between the state's white residents and minorities.

Read the full report here or watch it below:


The past 50 years have seen tremendous advances in medicine and corresponding advances in everything from disease control to life expectancy. But Hispanics and blacks in Colorado have not enjoyed the same benefits as whites, and today the two groups lag behind in one critical measure of health after another. Hispanics, for example, have the highest rate of cervical cancer and other diseases and are above the state average in diabetes and chronic liver and kidney disease.

The disparities are even more stark for Colorado's African American population: Blacks experience an infant mortality rate that is approaching three times that seen among all Coloradans, and they die an average of 3.4 years younger than whites in the state. They lead Colorado in the rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Closing the gaps will be difficult and complicated, because the factors involved go far beyond issues like health insurance -- stretching into socio-economic factors that contribute in ways that may not be readily apparent.

Read the full report here.

Burt Hubbard compiled an interactive timeline of the civil rights era with an emphasis on events in Colorado.

More about the project below:

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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