Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN-05) congressional district was ranked the worst in the nation for black Americans.
According to a new survey released Aug. 14 by the financial website 24/7 Wall Street, Omar’s congressional district displayed the greatest disparities in socioeconomic measures between blacks and whites.
The survey used 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and looked at several metrics, including the cost of living, median household income, poverty, education attainment, homeownership, and unemployment rates.
In Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District, the poverty rate for black Americans is 37.2 percent while the poverty rate for white Americans is 9.4 percent. The black unemployment rate is 12.3 percent, compared to a 4.0 percent unemployment rate for whites.
Homeownership rates yielded the greatest disparity between blacks and whites. The black homeownership rate in the district is 19.8 percent as opposed to a 63.1 percent homeownership rate among whites.
These factors earned Omar’s district the top spot on the list, beating out several congressional districts in Illinois, New York, Michigan, and Ohio.
“Black area residents are about four times more likely to live below the poverty line than white residents and three times more likely to be unemployed,” the organization says of Minnesota’s Fifth District. “Disparate outcomes along racial lines in the district are largely the legacy of historic racism. Minneapolis is one of several Midwestern cities that enacted restrictive housing covenants and exclusionary zoning policies in the early 20th century.”
In a press release, Andre Perry, a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, said that conditions in congressional districts are a “product of a multitude of historical social and economic factors.”
As such, Perry said these conditions reveal little about the efficacy of a representative, but noted that members of congress are in a “unique position of power to address issues of social and economic inequality within their district.”
“Civil rights and racial equality are central to the political platform of several representatives on this list,” 24/7 Wall Street said.
A 2018 survey from 24/7 Wall Street found that the Twin Cities area was the fourth-worst city for black Americans to live.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Ilhan Omar Gathering” by Ilhan Omar.