Urban league report uncovers racial disparities 

The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio has released a report examining the disparities faced by Black residents in Cincinnati and outlining the necessary steps to achieve parity, including economic empowerment, education reforms, housing policies, health initiatives, and criminal justice reforms. The post Urban league report uncovers racial disparities  appeared first on The Cincinnati Herald .

Urban league report uncovers racial disparities 

The “State of Black Cincinnati: The Journey to Parity” report released June 19 by the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio comprehensively examines the disparities faced by Black residents in Cincinnati since it was last published in 2015. It provides a detailed analysis of the socio-economic challenges and systemic inequities that have persisted over the years and outlines the steps necessary to achieve parity.

The entire report is available at the Urban League’s website.

“The ‘State of Black Cincinnati: The Journey to Parity’ is more than words on a page. It’s a call to action for the community, policymakers, and stakeholders to work collectively towards a more equitable and just Cincinnati. By addressing the systemic issues and implementing the recommended policies, Cincinnati can move closer to achieving true parity for all its residents,” wrote Candra Reeves, Project Manager, Urban League of Southwestern Ohio.

Candra Reeves. Provided

What the Urban League wants you to know

Cincinnati represents a microcosm of broader national issues related to racial disparities. The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio aims to disrupt generational poverty by addressing the complex factors contributing to it among Black Cincinnatians. The report highlights the interconnected aspects of the Black experience in Cincinnati and measures the impact of efforts made by the Urban League and its partners.

Economic Disparities

The report sheds light on significant economic disparities. In 2021, 35.6% of Cincinnati’s Black residents lived in poverty compared to 16.5% of White residents. The median household income for Black families was $31,520, significantly lower than the $70,909 for White families. The report emphasizes the importance of economic mobility and the need for equitable financial opportunities to build a thriving Black middle class.

Even though it is encouraging that the unemployment rates are decreasing, the rate for White workers when compared to Black workers is significantly lower. The rate of unemployment for Black workers was still almost 100% higher than their White counterparts as of 2022.”

Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated existing inequities, with Black residents experiencing higher rates of infection and mortality. Economic repercussions were severe, with nearly 50% of Black respondents reporting financial struggles due to the pandemic. The pandemic highlighted the urgent need for healthcare equity and economic support for marginalized communities.

Housing Inequities

Housing disparities are a critical issue, with historical practices such as redlining continuing to affect Black residents disproportionately. The report highlights the high rates of eviction and foreclosure among Black residents and calls for increased affordable housing and equitable development policies to address these challenges.

According to the report, there was a disparity in the percentage of Black individuals who were approved for mortgage loans when compared to White individuals in 2020.

The League said the data revealed that in Cincinnati, 67% of White borrowers were approved for mortgage loans while only 17.5% of Black borrowers were approved.

In Hamilton County, Black individuals were being sued in over 50% of the eviction cases. White individuals only made up 37%.

Education Disparities

Educational attainment in Cincinnati is deeply divided along racial lines. Predominantly White neighborhoods have higher levels of education, while Black and mixed-race neighborhoods face significant challenges. The report calls for equitable access to quality education and resources to bridge this gap.

Criminal Justice and Policing

The report examines the disparities in the criminal justice system, with Black residents facing higher rates of incarceration and police interactions.     

According to the League’s findings, since 1978, the incarceration rate for Black individuals in the state of Ohio has increased by 125%. In total, 15.8% of Ohio’s population are Black youth, but “approximately 56% of the Department of Youth Services’ juvenile population in 2018. The Collaborative Agreement of 2002 aimed to address these issues through transparency and community-oriented policing, but challenges remain. The report advocates for ongoing reforms and accountability to ensure justice and equity for all residents.

Health Disparities

Health disparities are stark, with Black residents having a lower life expectancy and higher rates of chronic conditions compared to White residents. The report stresses the importance of addressing social determinants of health and ensuring equitable access to healthcare services.

Policy Recommendations

To achieve parity, the report outlines several policy recommendations, including:

  • Economic empowerment through job creation and support for Black-owned businesses.
  • Education reforms to provide equal opportunities for all students.
  • Housing policies that promote affordable and equitable housing development.
  • Health initiatives to address disparities and improve access to care.
  • Criminal justice reforms to ensure fair treatment and reduce racial biases.

“There wasn’t anything shocking in the data,” said Christie Kuhns, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio. “What is surprising is just that we haven’t made as much progress. The best thing you can do is be informed.’’

Kuhns added, “When we talk about parity, we are referring to equality and fairness around access to resources, services and opportunities. As we think about the future of Cincinnati ensuring parity, it is essential to creating and maintaining a vibrant, thriving, future-forward community. This report is a call to action for city and community leaders to work together to address the challenges and barriers that prevent our city from being opportunity-inclusive for everyone.”    

Survey results

The Urban League released a survey to Black Cincinnatians in 2015 and 2024 and compared findings. Here are the comparisons.

  • Inclusivity in Cincinnati: 39% of respondents said it was inclusive in 2015 vs. 52% in 2024
  • Quality of life in Greater Cincinnati: 59% rated their quality of life as good or excellent in 2015 vs. 71% in 2024
  • Perceived level of inclusion: 33% of respondents said it was good in 2015 vs. 22% in 2024
  • Race Relations in Greater Cincinnati in 2024 only: 24% said it was good, 38% said neutral and 38% said not good

About the project manager

Candra Reeves, MPP, M.S. is an experienced researcher with strong analytical skills and experience in policy research, report writing, and program evaluation. As the Senior Director of Data & Analytics, she develops and enhances the systems necessary to gather internal and external organizational performance information. She then utilizes this information to assess, improve, and demonstrate organizational impact. She has a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Public Policy.

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