Report: Key economic measures improve for Dayton-area blacks, but income inequality still high

A 2015 job fair hosted by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Ohio Means Jobs Montgomery County at the University of Dayton Arena.
A 2015 job fair hosted by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Ohio Means Jobs Montgomery County at the University of Dayton Arena.

Credit: File photo / Jim Witmer

Credit: File photo / Jim Witmer

Black Americans continue to lag behind white counterparts in employment opportunities and income equality, but the situation has improved somewhat over the past year for African Americans in the Dayton region, according to a new report.

While the national numbers budged little between the 2016 and 2017 State of Black America report, unemployment equality improved locally. Dayton moved up 21 spots from last year due to a black unemployment rate that dropped from 17.1 percent to 13.1 percent. The region, however, continues to rank in the bottom half of 71 metro areas surveyed in the National Urban League study.

The Dayton metro area also showed a slight narrowing of income inequality between whites and blacks, though the gulf continues to be wide. A black household’s median income is currently estimated at $29,726 compared to a white household’s $54,480.

The annual equality index measures how blacks fare relative to whites in areas of economics, health, education, social justice and civic engagement. Using whites as a benchmark, blacks fall about 28 percent short, according to the researchers. The report also studied Hispanics, finding a 20 percent shortfall to whites.

Metro areas in Texas, California, Nevada and Florida rated most equal in terms of unemployment. No Ohio city made the top half of the list. Columbus (41), Akron (51), Cincinnati (54), Cleveland (68) and Toledo (70) all fared poorer than Dayton (40).

Columbus made the top half of the rankings in income equality, ranking 31st, followed by Dayton at 39 out of the 71 metro areas.

Below are the measures which include the top and bottom five metro areas for each and data for Ohio cities.

Metro area unemployment equality from most to least equal

2017 RankMetro AreaBlack RateWhite RateBlack-White Index2016 Rank
1San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX6.44.570.3%6
2Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA12.88.868.8%5
3Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV11.67.968.1%10
4Jacksonville, FL9.46.468.1%13
5Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL8.45.565.5%15
40Dayton, OH13.15.743.5%61
41Columbus, OH10.74.643.0%51
51Akron, OH12.85.139.8%58
54Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN11.74.538.5%63
67Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI16.24.729.0%65
68Cleveland-Elyria, OH17.64.726.7%69
69Rochester, NY17.34.526.0%67
70Toledo, OH20.74.923.7%66
71Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI13.82.719.6%70

Metro area income equality from most to least equal

2017 RankMetro AreaBlack Income Dollars*White Income Dollars*Black-White Index2016 Rank
1.Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA44,98962,24972.3%1.
2.San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX49,16368,66571.6%6.
3.San Diego-Carlsbad, CA52,61676,34768.9%3.
4.Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL35,25651,98967.8%4.
5.Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL32,79848,59067.5%2.
31.Columbus, OH36,00564,11856.2%33.
39.Dayton, OH29,72654,48054.6%44.
58.Cleveland-Elyria, OH29,23859,88948.8%67.
59.Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI28,84059,13648.8%66.
60.Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN29,98962,21748.2%68.
61.Akron, OH26,90856,75147.4%48.
67.Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI34,93776,86945.5%62.
68.Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI28,94765,86244.0%69.
69.Toledo, OH23,69354,18143.7%64.
70.San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA45,678105,12843.4%65.
71.Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI31,67276,58141.4%70.

*Median household income, 2015 dollars

Source: Census ACS 2015 1 year estimates (2017 Metro Index) and ACS 2014 1 year estimates (2016 Metro Index)