News & Politics

Study: Worst House Districts for Blacks Represented by Democrats, Ilhan Omar

Study: Worst House Districts for Blacks Represented by Democrats, Ilhan Omar
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in front of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) represents the very worst congressional district for disparities between blacks and whites, according to a new study. Democrats represent the vast majority of the worst congressional districts for black Americans. President Donald Trump made news criticizing Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) for the poverty in his district, and his district is on the list. Interestingly, none of the other members of “The Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — appeared on the list with Omar.

Congressional districts each represent roughly 700,000 Americans, but they are often apportioned to favor one political party over another and do not represent well-defined communities. This list is little more than interesting demographic data, and there is little a member of Congress can do specifically for his or her district beyond things like pet projects or “pork barrel” spending attached to unrelated legislation. Members of Congress go to Washington, D.C., to represent their districts, but mostly for lawmaking purposes.

Even so, the data from the study is quite interesting. The organization 24/7 Wall St. noted that the median black household earns about $25,000 per year less than the median white household. Black workers are also more than twice as likely to be unemployed, even with the black unemployment rate reaching historic lows under President Trump.

There are 174 congressional districts (of 436 total) with a black population of 10 percent or more, so the 30 worst districts represent less than a fifth of those.

For the study, 24/7 Wall St. created an index to measure social disparities between black and white Americans by congressional districts using U.S. Census Bureau data. Using that index, the organization discovered the 30 worst districts for black Americans, by measuring disparities between blacks and whites when it comes to the poverty rate, the unemployment rate, and the homeownership rate in each district.

A full 25 of the 30 districts are represented by Democrats.

See the worst 15 districts (and Cummings’ district) below. For the full list, including analysis and explanations about the study and each of the districts, check out the full 24/7 Wall St. study here.

22. Maryland 7: Rep. Elijah Cummings (D), West Baltimore.

Poverty rate: 23.4 percent black; 6.8 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 12.6 percent black; 4.0 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 45.9 percent black; 73.9 percent white.

15. Pennsylvania 2: Rep. Brendan Boyle (D), Northeast Philadelphia.

Poverty rate: 31.1 percent black; 15.4 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 15.9 percent black; 4.5 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 49.0 percent black; 52.4 percent white.

14. Michigan 5: Rep. Daniel T. Kildee (D), Northeast of Lansing.

Poverty rate: 38.0 percent black; 14.7 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 21.9 percent black; 7.7 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 48.3 percent black; 77.3 percent white.

13. New York 13: Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D), the Bronx.

Poverty rate: 31.0 percent black; 14.1 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 13.7 percent black; 5.5 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 10.2 percent black; 20.8 percent white.

12. New York 7: Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D), Brooklyn.

Poverty rate: 30.8 percent black; 19.7 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 15.8 percent black; 4.3 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 16.1 percent black; 30.2 percent white.

11. Georgia 5: Rep. John Lewis (D), Atlanta.

Poverty rate: 27.8 percent black; 9.0 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 14.4 percent black; 3.4 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 38.0 percent black; 56.6 percent white.

10. Ohio 9: Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D), Toledo to Cleveland.

Poverty rate: 37.8 percent black; 14.4 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 17.6 percent black; 7.2 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 31.4 percent black; 66.9 percent white.

9. New York 26: Rep. Brian Higgins (D), Buffalo.

Poverty rate: 35.2 percent black; 11.5 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 13.0 percent black; 4.8 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 32.3 percent black; 69.0 percent white.

8. Florida 21: Rep. Lois Frankel (D), Palm Beach.

Poverty rate: 19.5 percent black; 8.7 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 12.1 percent black; 6.6 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 47.1 percent black; 79.3 percent white.

7. Ohio 11: Rep. Marcia Fudge (D), Cleveland.

Poverty rate: 34.5 percent black; 14.3 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 18.4 percent black; 6.0 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 38.2 percent black; 66.0 percent white.

6. Ohio 1: Rep. Steve Chabot (R), Cincinnati.

Poverty rate: 35.4 percent black; 9.2 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 15.5 percent black; 5.2 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 30.1 percent black; 73.1 percent white.

5. Wisconsin 4: Rep. Gwen Moore (D), Milwaukee.

Poverty rate: 35.6 percent black; 12.9 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 15.0 percent black; 4.6 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 28.1 percent black; 59.3 percent white.

4. Illinois 7: Rep. Danny Davis (D), Central Chicago.

Poverty rate: 32.8 percent black; 8.6 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 20.0 percent black; 4.1 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 31.0% black; 53.5% white.

3. Illinois 17: Rep. Cheri Bustos (D), Northwest Illinois.

Poverty rate: 39.8 percent black; 12.9 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 21.6 percent black; 6.6 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 31.3 percent black; 73.0 percent white.

2. New York 25: Rep. Joseph Morelle (D), Rochester.

Poverty rate: 34.8 percent black; 8.2 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 15.1 percent black; 4.7 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 31.6 percent black; 72.2 percent white.

1. Minnesota 5: Rep. Ilhan Omar (D), Minneapolis.

Poverty rate: 37.2 percent black; 9.4 percent white.

Unemployment rate: 12.3 percent black; 4.0 percent white.

Homeownership rate: 19.8 percent black; 63.1 percent white.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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