America's Missing Black Men

A recently published analysis by the New York Times' The Upshot indicates that while most Whites live in places with roughly equal numbers of White men and women, most Blacks live in places with a significant shortage of Black men: "More than one out of every six black men who today should be between 25 and 54 years old have disappeared from daily life."  As a result, prime-age black women outnumber prime-age black men by 1.5 million.

The gap is highest in states where a substantial share of the population is African-American: in the South, as well as in cities across the Midwest and Northeast.  Ferguson, MO, with 60 men for every 100 black women in the 25-54 age group, is the city with the single largest proportion of missing black men.

This is not a new phenomenon.  According to The Upshot, "each government census over the past 50 years has recorded at least 120 prime-age black women outside of jail for every 100 black men."  Young Black men have long been disproportionately more likely to be incarcerated or to suffer an early death (due to homicides, heart disease, and accidents).  It is estimated that higher imprisonment rates account for almost 600,000 of the 1.5 million missing prime-age black men. "Both homicides and H.I.V.-related deaths, which disproportionately afflict black men, have dropped [since the 1990s]."  But the legacy of the country's imprisonment binge in the 1980s and 1990s continues to be felt acutely among this demographic.

The staggering numbers of missing black men highlight troublesome racial disparities with far-reaching implications, not only for black men themselves, but for their female partners, their families, and their communities.

Read more: resources:
White/Black Racial Segregation in U.S. Cities (
Race and Poverty in the United States (
Exploring Race and Ethnicity Using Census 2000 Data (
Race and Ethnic Inequality (
Gender, Education, Family, Poverty, and Race (
Race in America: Tracking 50 Years of Demographic Trends (
Attitudes about Racial Discrimination and Racial Inequality in the US: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Frederique Laubepin

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