Wisconsin ranks among the worst states in the nation for racial inequality in a new report by EPI’s Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) state partners that highlights the racial disparities within a dozen Midwestern states.
“Wisconsin has the regrettable distinction of ranking among the worst states in the nation for racial inequality,” the report states. “Disparities among black and white residents of our state – spanning poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration – have been documented consistently for more than a decade. Although activists and policymakers have increasingly focused on addressing these issues, they remain pressing.”
‘Race in the Heartland,” written by Colin Gordon, is a joint project of Policy Matters Ohio, Iowa Policy Project, EARN and COWS, a nonprofit think-and-do tank, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which promotes “high-road” solutions to social problems. The report provides critical regional, historical, and political context to help draw a more complete picture of the brutal racial inequality of the Midwest.
“In the 20th Century, people from around the world came to Wisconsin and the Midwest, seeking opportunity in the industrial boom. Manufacturing and unions helped create good jobs for many black workers, but discrimination and segregation limited that sharply,” the report states. “When industrial jobs declined, black Midwesterners suffered the most. Over the last 40 years, opportunity and outcomes for black residents in Wisconsin have fallen below national averages. As a result, black Wisconsinites face stubborn barriers and roadblocks that many white people don’t even know are there. Racial disparity in Wisconsin is not inevitable, but closing the gap will require a broad focus and multifaceted approach.”
“Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity” provides a Wisconsin-focused summary of the report.