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Black/White Income Equality: a bleg:

Since 1967, the U.S. Census Bureau has collected excellent comparative statistics on black vs. white income in the U.S.

Unfortunately, I just can't find anything even remotely comparable for the years *before* 1967 - i.e., for the years before the "civil rights movement" and "affirmative action."

Can anybody help me out, here? Do any such statistics exist?

What I'm trying to figure out is this: just exactly how well have said "civil rights movement" and said "affirmative action" worked out for African-Americans, on this (admittedly crude) measure?

Comments (7)

I say, be bold: Do some googling, get contact information for Thomas Sowell and/or Walter Williams, write e-mail to them, and ask. Thomas E. Woods might also have ideas as to where to find the data.

I am gradually learning myself not to be too nervous just to approach the "big names" directly for info.

Richard Epstein went into the overall issue in his book Forbidden Grounds and that might be a good place to look for references. I think he and some other law professor (Ian Ayres at Yale?) had an exchange in the journals about how much the civil rights laws really benefited anyone.

Look for the information under "colored." I believe the labeling of census data changed more than the data itself.

Note what happened to birthrates too. After the pill came out about 1960, black birthrates fell, but not as quickly as that of whites. My suspicion is that was the statistical data behind all the sixties hysteria about a "Population Explosion" in the midst of rapidly falling birthrates. Too many black babies for white liberals rather than too many babies in general.

Here's the first result for the search term: negro income 1940-" Table 3 - Wage or Salary Income in 1939, For Negro Males 25 To 64 Years Old " from census.gov ...it looks like you should try negro income and such search terms. If you have Charles Murray's books there will be some discussion and references highly relevant to your search. I recall the outlines were: black income as of 1940 was ~ half that of whites, then moved up to maybe 2/3 by the mid-60's, then up maybe 1% per decade relative to the majority, during the mandatory affirmative action era.

Charles Murray's Losing Ground covers 1950-80 with data on the B/W income gap as it changed.

In response to a question on the other thread, I attempted to find statistics on the percentages of blacks and whites incarcerated prior to 1965, as opposed to now. I had no luck. Does anybody know a source there? I did find that this country had under 300,000 prisoners total in state and federal prisons in 1965, the huge increase in those numbers today being attributable in great part to the "War on Drugs."

The Thernstroms' America in Black and White, chapter7 table 6 gives median annual incomes of blacks as a % of those of whites 1939-1995. In the paragraph below the table they say:"Since 1970 progress in cutting the racial gap in incomes has been much slower than in the preceding three decades". The preceding decades 1940-70 mostly pre-'civil rights', and all before 'disparate impact' quota enforcement, were the years in which blacks went from below half, to ~2/3. This is not a discovery, it has been much remarked on, though obviously not by media. What might be a contribution would be to determine if the 1940-60 changes were not mainly the result of their moving from locales with incomes furthest below the national average to the cities which were then most above it, somewhat like what immigrants do, moving in and driving out others, by living more densely. Then the slower pace of the later decades fails to show any fast moving gap-closing, as those cities tended to go back to the national average income and even below, as they acquired higher shares of disadvantaged minority population within the municipal boundaries.

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