African-American men, relative to their white counterparts, are no better off than they were in 1970. This depressing find comes from researchers Derek Neal and Armin Rick, who found employment rates fell twice as much for black men as whites from 1970 through 2010. The authors argue that high rates of incarceration were tied to low rates of employment, especially among the less educated. By 2010, “the institutionalization rate among black, male high-school dropouts ages 25-29 was almost one-third and the employment rate for this group was less than one-fourth.” This marks a reversal of progress: A 1989 study famously showed that African Americans had made major gains in terms of income, education, and occupational prestige.
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