Whether people want to admit it or not, many harbor stereotypes about black men. The trope of black men being good at basketball is a part of our pop culture. For many, seeing a black man walking toward them at night is cause for anxiousness. When I was growing up, I heard over and over that black men don’t take care of their cars. Obviously nonsensical, that stereotype is racist and wrong, as are many other stereotypes that society believes about black men. One stereotype that many people believe is that the majority of black men in this country are struggling financially.
As the Institute for Family Studies says, “Too often, much of the news about black men in America is sobering, if not depressing.”
Thankfully, that’s not always the case. In fact, recent studies reveal that black men are experiencing positive economic trends. The study, conducted by researchers for the Institute for Family Studies and the American Enterprise Institute, provides a snapshot of changes with the African-American male community over the last few decades.
In Black Men Making It in America, W. Bradford Wilcox, Wendy Wang, and Ronald B. Mincy used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 to track a cohort of men born between 1957 and 1964 from their early years to ages 50 and older in order to determine how many have made into the middle class or higher by midlife, and what institutional and cultural factors are behind their success.
One of the study’s highlights is that the rate of poverty has fallen among black men. Only 18 percent of black men in this country currently live in poverty. By way of contrast, in 1960 that number was 41 percent. As expected, based on the falling poverty rate, a majority of black men earn enough money to be classified as middle class or higher. In 2016, 57 percent of black men were middle class or higher; in 1960, only 38 percent of black men were middle class or higher.
According to the report, marriage is one of the most important indicators for financial success among African-American men. “About 70 % of married black men are in the middle class, compared to only 20% of never-married black men and 44% of divorced black men.”
While not as strong an indicator for predicting financial success as marriage, regular church attendance shows a correlation with attaining middle class or higher. “53% of those who attended church as young men made it, compared to 43% who did not.”
We should have the desire to see all segments of society achieve financial success. These trends are good news for all of us. Let’s hope that African-American men realize that leftists’ attacks on the traditional family and religion will undermine their ability to achieve financial success. Likewise, the left’s economic policies will reduce economic opportunities and take more and more of their hard-earned money through increased taxation.