Illinois is worst state for economic inequality of Black residents

Illinois is worst state for economic inequality of Black residents

A WalletHub report examining economic racial inequality ranked Illinois No. 50 for disproportionate rates of unemployment, income, poverty, homelessness and representation in business leadership between Black and white residents.

Illinois was ranked the worst state in the nation for racial economic inequality, according to a new WalletHub report.

The study of economic inequality found Black Illinoisans experienced unemployment, homelessness and exclusion from the labor force at the nation’s most disproportionate rates compared to its white residents. Illinois was worst among states, but the District of Columbia’s Black residents faced greater inequality.

Alaska reported the least economic differences between white and Black residents.

Experts reviewing the findings said the major causes of the racial wealth gap stemmed from a history of segregation and policies discriminating against minority residents. Most point to government policies used to limit Black residents from building wealth.

Associate Professor of Economics at Mercer University, Dr. Antonio Saravia, said freer economies with greater protections for residents are seeing that gap shrink more over time.

“States or countries that have made important and sustainable progress toward closing racial gaps would be those that advance economic freedom and protection of civil and property rights for all without targeting specific groups,” Saravia said.

“On the other hand, states or countries that use aggressive policies of affirmative action may reduce gaps in the short run but that progress will not be sustainable in the long run.”

Research shows more competition mitigates discrimination in the market. When market competition for candidates is high, minority candidates fare better. Moreover, sustained periods of economic strength also tend to reduce the rate of job loss for Blacks leading to a reduction in the white-Black employment gap.

Illinois ranked No. 37 in the U.S. for personal and economic freedom in 2021 under Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who himself was ranked No. 47 among governors nationwide for advancing economic freedom.

While Springfield lawmakers tout short-term policies to mollify inequality among Illinoisans, true economic relief is denied to historically disadvantaged residents who are asked to pay higher taxes each year for worsening public services.

Illinois’ economic policies are part of the problem.

Job creators have faced $650 million in new taxes under Pritzker while struggling through a pandemic economy. Illinois residents have had a total of $5.24 billion in new taxes imposed by him as people have fled to other states for better opportunities and lower taxes.

Illinois is also No. 3 for imposing regulations on job creators.

If Illinois wants to close the racial gaps, it needs to improve the jobs climate. That will close racial gaps and stop the Illinois exodus.

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