The 10 Best State Economies for Racial Equality — and the 5 Worst

Unhappy family
Photo by wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Recent events have reminded us that America is a place where racial equality remains elusive.

While improvement is needed everywhere, some states are doing better than others.

WalletHub recently used eight key metrics to compare the 50 states and the District of Columbia and determine which economies have the most — and least — racial equality. The financial data site explains:

“We determined the level of equality by subtracting the values attributed to whites and blacks for a given metric, using only the most recent available data.”

The eight metrics are:

  • Median annual household income
  • Labor-force participation rate
  • Unemployment rate
  • Homeownership rate
  • Poverty rate
  • Homeless rate
  • Share of unsheltered homeless
  • Share of executive positions

Some factors — such as household income and unemployment rate — were weighted more heavily than others.

WalletHub also gave each state a total score that reflects all of the metrics. The 10 states with the most racial equality are:

  1. New Mexico: total score of 79.92 out of 100
  2. Alaska: 77.67
  3. Arizona: 77.30
  4. Hawaii: 77.19
  5. Texas: 76.60
  6. Colorado: 74.69
  7. Montana: 74.40
  8. Vermont: 74.11
  9. Delaware: 74.00
  10. Washington: 73.74

Meanwhile, other states are not doing as well at creating equal economic opportunities. The places at the bottom of the rankings are:

  • District of Columbia: total score of 16.00 out of 100
  • Wisconsin: 44.30
  • Illinois: 45.18
  • Minnesota: 48.74
  • Iowa: 50.61

WalletHub notes that unemployment rates are consistently higher among Black Americans than white Americans. Black households also have substantially lower net worths, on average.

Inequality is especially bad in the District of Columbia. The nation’s capital ranked at the bottom for several metrics. In other words, it has a higher gap between white people and Black people than in any of the 50 states when it comes to:

  • Medium annual income
  • Labor-force participation rate
  • Unemployment rate
  • Share of homeless rate

While life can be especially tough on people of color in the District of Columbia, things can be challenging for anyone trying to live there. The median cost of a starter home in D.C. was higher than that of any state in the nation — $335,700 as of 2019 — as we detail in “How Much Is a Starter Home in Your State These Days?

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Most Popular
What Inflation Means for Social Security Checks in 2022
What Inflation Means for Social Security Checks in 2022

Recent inflation figures were ugly. Here’s what they hint about the next Social Security benefits adjustment.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value
3 Colors That Can Ruin Your Car’s Resale Value

Select the wrong color for your next car, and it could depreciate twice as fast as others.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.