Brookings Institute Study Suggests Black Men are Bringing Black Women Down Financially — And Black Men Aren’t Having It

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Brookings Institute Study
Black women have roughly the same odds of escaping poverty as white women, the study found. (Photo by Hero Images)

A new Brookings Institute study has Black folks up in arms over its suggestion that Black men negatively affect the upward mobility of Black women, particularly when it comes to finances.

The report, published Thursday, March 22, is the latest in a growing body of literature that suggests race gaps in the inheritance of intergenerational poverty is largely the result of poor outcomes for African-American men. When examined along gender lines, the analysis implies Black women have roughly the same odds of escaping poverty as white women — that is, until they wed a Black man.

“Black women face a very high risk of being stuck in poverty (62 percent), surpassing even the 50 percent risk faced by Black men,” the study states. ” … The headline finding here is that, among those who grew up poor, Black women are the [only] group showing a marked difference between the risk of being in the bottom quintile of the ‘individual earnings’ distribution (for each gender), and the risk of being in the bottom quintile of the ‘family income’ distribution (for the whole age cohort).

“Black women do reasonably well on the first and very poorly on the second,” it adds. “This result is probably driven by the fact that Black women tend to create families with the black men who do poorly on both counts and thus bring down the family income results for Black women.”

The key to closing the income gap between Black and white women, the study concluded, must begin with narrowing intergenerational income gaps between Black and white men by helping the former earn more money to support their families.

Many Black men didn’t take too kindly to research’s tone, however, and accused study authors of trying to create division between Black men and women.

On the flip side, there were some women who defended the study and found it to be valid and others who recognized white supremacy as the root cause.

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