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MLK Holiday: See DC And Virginia’s Racial Progress

Patch logo Patch 1/20/2019 Deb Belt
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WASHINGTON, DC — It’s been 54 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and thousands of others in Alabama marched from Selma to Montgomery as part of a civil rights protest. Since then, America’s progress in racial equality has been a mixed bag, to say the least. Virginia earns much higher marks than the District of Columbia.

Police still kill a disproportionate number of black people. Blacks accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, despite the fact they only account for 13 percent of the population, according to an analysis by Vox last year. And black boys raised in the U.S. go on to earn less as adults than white boys who grew up in similar circumstances, according to a study last year.

“Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America,” The New York Times wrote at the time. “And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.”

A new report published ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, shows some states have seen more racial progress than others. Virginia is one of them, according to the folks at WalletHub.

The authors ranked every state for racial integration and racial progress by comparing them across four categories: employment and wealth; education; social and civic engagement; and health. The rankings were calculated based on 22 weighted metrics, which were then graded out of 100 possible points, with a 100 being the highest level of racial integration and progress.

Virginia ranked 16th in the nation for racial integration and 25th for racial progress. Here’s a breakdown of the rankings:

Racial Integration

Employment and wealth: 14

Education: 33

Social and civic engagement: 6

Health: 39

Racial Progress

Employment and wealth: 21

Education: 34

Social and civic engagement: 18

Health: 37

Washington, D.C., ranked 51st in the nation for racial integration and 47th for racial progress. Here’s a breakdown of the rankings:

Racial Integration

Employment and wealth: 51

Education: 51

Social and civic engagement: 45

Health: 45

Racial Progress

Employment and wealth: 49

Education: 26

Social and civic engagement: 30

Health: 31

“This analysis compares only blacks and whites in light of racial tensions in recent years that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement and the observance of the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who played a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement to end segregation and discrimination against blacks,” the authors wrote.

Racial integration and progress were both determined by subtracting the values attributed to whites and blacks for a given measurement. But racial integration used only the most recent data, while progress used the oldest data available as well as the most recent. The employment and wealth category accounted for 40 percent of the score and was calculated using data such as median annual income, labor-force participation rate, unemployment rate, homeownership rate and poverty rate.

New Mexico was named the most racially integrated state, followed by West Virginia, Hawaii, Kentucky and Texas. Washington, D.C. was ranked the least racially integrated, followed by Wisconsin, Maine, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan.

Wyoming ranked No. 1 when it comes to most racial progress, the report found. Texas, New Mexico, Georgia and Mississippi rounded out the top five. Meanwhile, Maine, Iowa, Vermont, South Dakota, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin have seen the least progress, the rankings showed.

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Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report.

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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