A Demographic Mystery

Black poverty rate by county. Source StatChat

Black poverty rate by county. Source: StatChat

The median income for African-Americans among the 50 states is highest in Maryland, second highest in Delaware and third highest in Virginia. The flip side of the coin is that the counties with the lowest African-American poverty rates are overwhelmingly clustered in the Mid-Atlantic, as can be seen in the map above. What’s going on? What’s so special about the Mid-Atlantic?

One obvious explanation is that the high median African-American incomes are centered on the Washington metropolitan area. That may be a factor but there’s more. African-American prosperity extends southward well past the Richmond metropolitan area and north into Delaware.

The data comes from Hamilton Lombard with the Demographics Research Group at the University of Virginia, who published on the StatChat blog. In a future post, he says, he will examine how that came to be. I eagerly await his analysis.

(Hat tip: Frank Muraca, Nutshell.)

— JAB

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6 responses to “A Demographic Mystery

  1. I notice Delaware does not seem to be “green” unless it’s Wilmington and we cannot see it on the map.

  2. I do not doubt for a minute the prosperous demographic as the govt and govt contractors purposely hire qualified African Americans but I seriously doubt the low end Demographic…something is wrong.

    Look at the deep southern states.. compared to Mid-Atlantic …

  3. Oh come on. Of course the readers of this blog go instantly to the belief that it must be government contractors.

    The explanation is up: http://statchatva.org/2016/03/28/why-are-black-households-wealthier-in-virginia/

    Historically higher rates of home and farm ownership, linked to patterns of farm economy after Reconstruction.

  4. well … as someone who does live in the Fredericksburg area – I can assure you that we are, in fact, a significant number of govt and govt contractor commuters with a significant number of well-educated minorities and I suspect that’s the case in the suburban ring around DC/VA/Md.

    I would think AT THE LEAST , any report on this would acknowledge and quantify this as it is very real.

  5. well.. I’ve read and – re-read the Stat Chat and I have to say – I’m puzzled.. it does not seem right.

  6. Whatever the reason, it is a striking anomoly.

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