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 Boston-Cambridge-Newton metro area, however, 73.7% of residents are white and 7.0% 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 Boston, the typical African American household earns 48.6% of that of the typical white household, a greater income disparity than the nation as a whole and the largest racial income gap of any city in Massachusetts.
Similarly, while 6.8% of white residents in Boston live below the poverty line, an estimated 21.5% of African American metro area residents do. Of all white households in the area, 13.5% earn $200,000 or more annually, compared to just 3.5% of African American households.
One reason for the racial income disparity in Boston 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 Boston, the college attainment rate among white adults is 49.7%, while it is only 23.2% among African American adults.