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The good news about black men in America

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There is good news about black men in America. W. Bradford Wilcox, Wendy Wang, and Ronald Mincy write:

Despite a portrait of race relations that often highlights the negative, especially regarding black men (many Americans, according to a 2006 study by the Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University, believed that crime, unemployment, and poverty are endemic among African-American men), the truth is that most black men will notbe incarcerated, are not unemployed, and are not poor — even if black men are more likely than other men to experience these outcomes.

In fact, millions of black men are flourishing in America today.

Our new report, “Black Men Making It In America,” spotlights two pieces of particular good news about the economic well-being of black men.

First, the share of black men in poverty has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18% today. Second, and more importantly, the share of black men in the middle or upper class — as measured by their family income — has risen from 38% in 1960 to 57% today. In other words, about one-in-two black men in America have reached the middle class or higher.

This good news is important and should be widely disseminated because it might help reduce prejudicial views of black men in the society at large, and negative portrayals of black men in the media. It should also engender hope among all African-Americans — particularly young black males. […]

So, what routes are black men taking to make it in America?

Tracking black men from young adulthood through their 50s using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, we identified three factors that are associated with their success: education, work, and marriage.

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[W. Bradford Wilcox, Wendy Wang, and Ronald Mincy, “The Good News About Black Men in America,” American Enterprise Institute, July 3]

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