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Nearly Half Of Chicago's Young Black Men Are Unemployed, Out Of School

By Mae Rice in News on Jan 26, 2016 7:05PM

Chicago is one of the worst major cities in the country for young black men, according to a new study that the Alternative Schools Network commissioned from the the University of Illinois Chicago Great Cities Institute. Almost half of black men in Chicago ages 20 to 24 were both unemployed and out of school in 2014, according to the study.

The exact percent of black men in this age group who weren’t in school or working (46.7 percent) was more than twice the nationwide rate for the same demographic in 2014 (18.2 percent). It was also at least 10 percentage points higher than it is for the same demographic in New York City and Los Angeles circa 2014.

Not only were young black men in Chicago less likely to find work or educational opportunities than young black men elsewhere—they were also less likely than young black people generally. Black people in Chicago, ages 20-24, are out of work and unemployed at a 40.9 percent rate.

These statistics suggest a starkly tilted professional playing field in Chicago, especially when compared with the percentages for Hispanic and white Chicagoans in the same age range who are out of school and work—18.7 and 6.7 percent, respectively.

The dearth of opportunities for young black people has ramifications on their later years, too, the study argues, often correlating with unemployment and low wages later in life, as well as general unhappiness.

The data for this study came from the 2014 American Community Survey—a component of the US census—and other public use files.