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1. Perceived discrimination
2. Poverty levels by population group
3. Incarceration or execution rates by population group
4. Crime victims by population group
5. Education levels by population group
6. Health by population group
8. Public acceptance of racial/ethnic diversity
9. The Asal & Pate discrimination index
Measuring discrimination is rather tricky. One way to do it is to ask the target groups about their perception of discrimination. Like this:
This graph gives information on perceived discrimination in minority groups in the Netherlands:
However, perceived discrimination is not the same as real discrimination: people can believe they are being discriminated against without there being any actual discrimination, while actual discrimination may not be perceived as such.
The following graph show the perception of the worsening plight of African Americans in the US, both among the African Americans themselves and among the white part of the population:
However, when asked for the reasons for this worsening, most respondents – even most blacks – don’t consider discrimination to be the most important one:
Although poverty has many causes, discrimination is undoubtedly one of them. Large differences in wealth between groups – for example racial groups - may indicate the existence of discrimination. Here are some data on the situation in the US:
In the U.S., the median annual income for black families is 38 percent lower than for their white counterparts.
Average US annual labor income in 1992 was $17,100. Compared to white males, what did members of other groups earn on average?
|Group||Labor Income Gap|
These income differences between races (and genders) don’t necessarily or always result from conscious discrimination in wage determination (it is wrong to infer discrimination from difference). Different education levels, for example (see below), can also be a cause, but these causes can themselves be affected by discrimination (for example discrimination in education). Anyway, even corrected for education levels, incomes differ by race:
Different poverty and income levels by race are partly caused by different unemployment levels, and that is something which is probably caused in part by racism and discrimination (studies have shown that black or black sounding job applicants get fewer callbacks). Here’s an example for the U.S.:
This paper estimates that racial discrimination accounts for at least one-third of the wage difference between blacks and whites in the US.
Unsurprisingly, the recession of 2008/2009 wasn’t exactly colorblind:
The recession obliterated more than half of the wealth (assets minus debts) of the average black and Hispanic household in the U.S. White households lost “only” 16%. (Assets are houses, cars, savings and checking accounts, stocks and mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc. Debts are mortgages, auto loans, credit card debt, etc.). The main culprit was the bursting of the housing market bubble.
As a result, the average black household had just $5,677 in wealth in 2009; the typical Hispanic household $6,325; and the typical white household $113,149. In relative terms, this means that in 2009, the median wealth of white households in the U.S. was 20 times that of black households, and 18 times that of Hispanic households; this difference is twice the size it used to be before the recession. Also, a third of black and Hispanic households now have zero or negative net worth.
Moreover, since the official end of the recession in mid-2009, the housing market in the U.S. has remained in a slump while the stock market has recaptured much of the value it lost from 2007 to 2009. Given that a much higher share of whites than blacks or Hispanics own stocks — as well as mutual funds and 401(k) or individual retirement accounts (IRAs) — the stock market rebound since 2009 is likely to have benefited white households more than minority households. (source)
This is the racial breakdown of child poverty in the U.S.:
Statistics on the differences between races in incarceration or execution rates may indicate the existence of discrimination in the justice system, although these differences may have other causes besides discrimination, e.g. differences in poverty rates (see above), differences in levels of education etc. Of course, the latter differences may be caused by discrimination so that discrimination is indirectly the cause of the differences in the application of justice. Here again are some data on the situation in the US, showing that blacks, although they make up only 12 or 13% of the population, account for more than 1 in 3 of the prison population and of executions. 5% of black men are in jail, compared to less than 1% of white men.
One cause of these distortions in incarceration rates is racial profiling. Marijuana use by black residents of Washington DC is only slightly higher than among white residents. Given that blacks are slightly more numerous in DC than whites, we should – if criminal justice were fair – also see only slightly more blacks arrested for marijuana use. Surprise, surprise: that’s not the case. In 2007, 91 percent of those arrested for marijuana were black. Adjusting for population, African-Americans are eight times more likely to be arrested.
(source, source, the drawing makes it look like blacks are more than 11 times more likely to get arrested – 8*11=91 – but that doesn’t take into account the fact that blacks are slightly more numerous in DC – hence the correct number is 8 times)
A similar pattern for Chicago (where whites are more numerous than blacks):
(source, click image to enlarge)
And this is the case for many if not all types of crimes.
Blacks are also about twice as likely as whites to be a victim of a crime. In the US, 1 out of every 21 black men can expect to be murdered, a death rate double that of American servicemen in WWII (source).
While a lot of crime is black-on-black, it’s likely that the risk of being a victim of any type of crime is higher for people living in poor and segregated neighborhoods.
Again, for the US only:
It’s highly likely that differences in quality of education are to blame here. And those differences in turn may be caused by discrimination.
Again, much of these disparities may be the consequence of differences in quality healthcare provision.
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