The Corner


The Ignored Datum

The Economic Policy Institute this week published a thin (eight pages) report, “50 Years after the Kerner Commission,” which has gotten nice coverage in places like the Washington Post and the New York Times. The report collects data and looks at how well African Americans are doing now versus 50 years ago in terms of education, employment, income, wealth, health, and incarceration, and the spin is very much “the glass is still half empty.”

But any intelligent analysis of continuing racial disparities has to come to grips with the fact that the out-of-wedlock birthrate among African Americans has tripled since the 1960s, so that now seven out of ten African Americans are born out of wedlock. And being born out-of-wedlock correlates strongly with all those other numbers: education, employment, income, and so forth.

So, guess how much discussion there is in the report of that datum? That’s right: Not one single word.


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