In America today, 62.8% of the population is white, and 12.2% is African American. Dense, urban cities tend to be more racially diverse than the country as a whole. In the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area, 54.3% of residents are white and 16.8% are African American.
Wealth is often divided along racial lines. Nationwide, the typical white household earns $61,394 a year. Meanwhile, the typical African American household earns just 59.5% of the median income for white households, or $36,544 a year. In Chicago, the typical African American household earns 45.7% of that of the typical white household, a greater income disparity than the nation as a whole and the fourth largest racial income gap of any city in Illinois.
Similarly, while 7.0% of white residents in Chicago live below the poverty line, an estimated 26.8% of African American metro area residents do. Of all white households in the area, 10.4% earn $200,000 or more annually, compared to just 1.7% of African American households.
One reason for the racial income disparity in Chicago and across the country may be the divergence of education levels across racial groups. Nationwide, 34.2% of white Americans have at least a bachelor’s degree, while 20.2% of African Americans have similar educational attainment. In Chicago, the college attainment rate among white adults is 44.0%, while it is only 21.0% among African American adults.