Friday, March 7, 2008

Statistical Abstract #1

Who needs to read anything else? I bet one could maintain a blog for months, if not a full year, just by wandering around in the 2008 Statistical Abstract of the United States. (Hat tip to the indispensable and long-lived Scout Report for the reminder.)

I'll start with Table 104 (PDF), "Age-Adjusted Death Rates by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin, 1960-2004." In 1960, the age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 people was 1311 for whites and 1578 for blacks. As of 2004, the figures were 786 and 1027.

This is another case of overall improvement without much improvement in equality. If you follow the trends, black people in 2004 had achieved the death rate that white people had back in 1980.

This difference isn't trivial, and it tracks many others. Discussion of black-white racial issues -- when it occurs, which isn't often enough -- can start with this established fact, as opposed to most whites' bland assumption that those issues are all in the past.

1 comment:

Paul Botts said...

Actually my experience is that whites tend to be aware of such persistent differences in _outcomes_ for blacks compared to whites, what they think has changed is a lot of the _inputs_ that they grew up hearing were to blame. The inferences which can be drawn from that logic train are obvious, and seem to no longer be the sole province of whites who grew up being taught that blacks are inferior or whatever.

Hence for example in Oak Park, the fact that African-American kids continue to lag behind white and Asian ones in test scores is constantly publicized. White parents can see that the schools now have lots of black teachers and administrators, have by now tried a dozen different expensive new teaching methods to close "the gap", decades ago stopped assuming that black kids were inherently dumber or anything so absurd, etc.

This leads to white liberals, folks who would consider being accused of pedophilia less horrifying than being called racist, posing the sorts of questions that have made Bill Cosby notorious in some quarters. (Asian-American and Hispanic parents say the same things but not as questions.)