Census: Widening income gap as blacks leave cities

December 8, 2011 - 12:05 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — New census data show affluent black Americans who are leaving industrial cities for the suburbs and the South are shifting traditional lines between rich and poor. Their migration is widening the income gap between whites and the inner-city blacks who remain behind, while making blacks less monolithic as a group and subject to greater income disparities.

The typical white person last year earned income roughly 1.7 times higher that of blacks, the widest ratio since the 1990s. Five cities in particular saw increases in inequality: Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Milwaukee.

Low-income blacks also slipped further behind. The share of black households earning less than $15,000 climbed from 20 to 26 percent over the past decade. Other race and ethnic groups fared slightly better.