as-black-history-month-ends-what-do-pittsburghs-demographics-say-about-racial-disparities-today

Diversity Mask, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from George A. Spiva Center for the Arts’ photostream

This year’s Black History Month had the theme of “A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture” celebrating the achievements of African Americans in the last 100 years. But what do we know about the disparities among the races today here in Pittsburgh? Last month the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work Center on Race and Social Problems released a report titled “Pittsburgh’s Racial Demographics 2015: Differences and Disparities.” It provided indicators of quality of life by race and ethnicity for the Pittsburgh area and the nation among Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics and was funded by The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation, with additional support from Pitt’s School of Social Work.

The report covered seven key areas:

  • Population Diversity
  • Families, Youth, and Elderly
  • Education Disparities
  • Economic Disparities
  • Interracial Group Relations
  • Health and Mental Health
  • Criminal Justice

As Pittsburgh Urban Media reported, some of it’s key findings included the following:

Thirty-three percent of Blacks, 25 percent of Hispanics, 20 percent of Asians, and 15 percent of Whites live in poverty in the City of Pittsburgh.

All of the 2012 juvenile murder victims in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County were Black.

While Blacks and Whites have comparable drug-use rates in Pittsburgh, Blacks have a higher arrest rate.

Black and Hispanic unemployment rates are much higher than those of White and Asian residents, both in Pittsburgh and across the nation.

The report uses the latest data available and shows conclusively that despite any claims to this being a “postracial” society, “people of minority racial backgrounds lack opportunities to obtain sufficient employment, become adequately educated, live in good neighborhoods, and enjoy a life free of foul treatment from the legal justice system.”

You can read the executive summary here and the full report here. You can also view a video of the press release here in which Mayor Peduto participated.