CLEVELAND, Ohio — While demonstrations across the country are renewing calls for racial fairness, a new report from WalletHub ranks Ohio as one of the worst states in the nation in terms of racial equality.
The state ranked 45th among all states and the District of Columbia, according to WalletHub. Ohio also ranked among the five states with the highest unemployment rate gap, along with Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the District of Columbia.
New Mexico ranked highest in the nation in terms of racial equality, according to WalletHub, followed by Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii and Texas.
The recent protests for police reform and racial equality that have roiled the nation could help people of color economically in the long term, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said in a statement.
“The U.S. is growing more conscious of social and economic inequality, and governing authorities are being pressured to pass laws that address those disparities,” she said. But in the short term, “the rioting that accompanied some of the protests created further business destruction that is bad for everyone involved,” Gonzalez said.
WalletHub compared states across eight key areas including annual income, unemployment rate, homelessness, share of executives and home ownership rate.
Data came from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, WalletHub said.
The company’s findings are backed up by other research.
A paper from the Center for Talent Innovation, titled Being Black in Corporate America, found that only 3.2 percent of executive or senior-level positions belong to black Americans, even though that demographic makes up 13 percent of the U.S. population.
The overall black unemployment rate is consistently higher than the white unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Other studies illuminate a wide disparity in wealth between white and black Americans, WalletHub said. The average white family has a net worth of $171,000, compared to just $17,150 for the average black family, according to a 2020 paper from the Brookings Institution.
“One way to help black Americans achieve greater economic equality is to increase funding for schools in underserved districts with high minority populations, since a better education can lead to better job opportunities in the future,” Gonzalez said.
Increased funding for schools with high minority populations could help prepare children for better job opportunities, she said.
“We should combat the low representation of black Americans in business executive positions by promoting youth programs that offer resume-building leadership experience, and by pushing for merit-based advancement within large companies,” she said.