The state of Texas is making progress toward racial harmony when it comes to employment, wealth, education, healthcare, and civic engagement, according to a new study.
“We don’t have school-level information,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “It’s difficult to get data from each school. What we do know is that Texas ranks first for the share of adults with at least a high school degree, eighth for the share of adults with at least a bachelor’s degree, and ninth for public high school dropout rate. This means that these three metrics have more balance between Black people and White people.”
The 2022 WalletHub States with the Least and Most Racial Progress study ranked Texas in third place for racial integration in 2022 compared to second place last year, fourth place in 2020, and fifth place in 2019.
“The slight drop since last year is attributed to the change in the voter turnout rate, the change in the share of obese and diabetic adults, and in the share of live births with low birthweight,” Gonzalez told The Dallas Express.
Arizona and Hawaii landed in first and second place, respectively, even though 12.9% of the population in Texas is Black compared to 5.2% in Arizona and only 2.2% in Hawaii, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Hawaii and Arizona outranked Texas because they did a better job at integrating their Black communities in terms of employment and wealth and social and civic engagement,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “To catch up with Arizona and Hawaii, Texas would need to have more balance between Black people and White people in terms of homeownership rate, poverty rate, standardized test scores, the share of veterans, and the share of preterm births.”
Although Black people make up 47.1% of the population in Washington, D.C., compared to the 45.1% of its population made up of White people, the nation’s capital is the least integrated among all 51 surveyed.
“Despite this racial balance in terms of its residents, D.C. ranked low because there is no balance when it comes to the median annual household income, labor force participation rate, unemployment rate, poverty rate, and the share of executives,” Gonzalez said. “The district also ranked low for education, the share of single-parent households, and the share of the adult population on parole. Looking at healthcare, D.C. ranks low for the share of adults in poor health and the share of obese adults.”
The study further found that the Lone Star state ranked highly in closing the household income gap between Black and White Texans.
“Texas ranked fifth for the change in median annual household income gap because there was a drop in the gap by more than 23% over the past 40 years, which means that the median annual household income for Black people is getting closer to that of White people,” Gonzalez added. “Other states could catch up if they had a smaller gap between the incomes of Black and White people. Wyoming ranked first here, with an income gap that dropped by over 36%.”