The number of black children born into poverty was 43% in 1968; their number increased to 46% by 1987, and has dropped by one per cent since then.   One in four black men is in trouble with the law; one in five is in college.    Half of the black women in America are heads of households, and half of them live, with their children, in poverty.
Viewing the Class Divide: The Fastest Growing Black Underclass in History


The above chart shows the growing spread between America's richest and poorest - and in both the black and white communities. In addition to showing that black household income still lags far behind white household income, it actually marks a decrease in the income of the poorest black households between 1968 and 1995 (in 1995 dollars).

Since 1980, the population of the black underclass has tripled according to statistics from The Urban Institute - which defines people in the 'underclass' using the above five criteria.



home . join the discussion .  are we better off? .  audio excerpts .  charts, graphs & analysis .  interviews
booker t. & w.e.b. .  a glimpse of history .  readings & links
synopsis .  tapes & transcripts .  press reaction
wgbh .  frontline online .  pbs online

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation