If President Obama intended to end his final press conference of 2014 with a bang, he surely succeeded.
When asked about the current state of black America, our 44th president made a claim some people will find questionable:
“Like the rest of America, black America, in the aggregate, is better off now than it was when I came into office.”
While the President referenced both housing and healthcare as examples of things his administration has done to benefit black Americans, other research may run counter to his claim.
Here are some basic facts about life in black America under President Barack Obama:
- In spite of Obama’s $275 billion in housing-market bailouts, home ownership has waned.
- In the first quarter of 2009, 67.3% of Americans owned homes. By 1Q 2014, the Census Bureau figure was 64.8%.
- Black home ownership has sagged from 46.1% in 2009 to 43.3% in 2014.
- The poverty rate for blacks is now 25.8%.
- Fewer than half of young black men are working a full-time job.
- The black workforce is decreasing, down from 58.6% in June 2007 to 52.8% in August 2012.
- The median minority family’s income is now almost fifth lower than it was when Obama took office with a net worth of just $18,100.
- In contrast, white median wealth has increased by 1% to $142,000.
- In 2009, white households were 7 times richer than black households. Now, white households are 8 times richer.
Even Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, was reluctant to indicate that any progress had been made:
“The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started. White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing a full point worse.”
Bernard Anderson, a black economist, acknowledged that he had hopes of racial progress as he watched Obama deliver his second inaugural address, but also made a direct challenge to the president’s recent claims:
“I believe now is the time for the president to use some of his political capital to eliminate racial inequality in American economic life. We cannot let the president off the hook in the second term.
Black people gave him a pass in the first term …. He is not going to run for anything. He doesn’t deserve a pass anymore.”
While the recent tension between blacks and law enforcement in the case of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner has captivated the attention and interest of the president, along with many others, there is still much work to be done to make Obama’s claim of advancement among blacks a reality.