The New York Urban League publishes the report “State of Black New York”; First report in over a decade

NEW YORK CITY, Nov 23, 2020 – The New York Urban League (NYUL) announces the release of its landmark report, The State of Black New York, published for the first time in over a decade in partnership with Robin Hood Columbia University Poverty Tracker with support from United Way of New York City, White & Case, and the New York Women’s Foundation.

The State of Black New York report covers important current issues affecting African Americans in New York City. The entire 53-page report can be downloaded from The main results are listed below.

In addition to the report, the NYUL website contains essays by prominent New Yorkers on the data presented and policy recommendations. These guest authors, who represent top figures from science, politics and industry, have contributed their analyzes and recommendations to this comprehensive compilation of articles and essays. These prominent regional and national leaders include Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare, Frida Polli, CEO of Pymetrics, and Dr. John Flateau, chairman of the corporate administration department at Medgar Evers College. (Full list below.)

While the National Urban League publishes a State of Black America report every year, now in its 44th edition, this report is the first NYUL has published in more than ten years. Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, contributed to the preface to this New York report.

Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League, said, “The NYUL State of Black New York is helping us prioritize our work and strategically focus on efforts to fill the black and white void in the city of New York. We hope this report will be used by individuals, businesses, policymakers, nonprofits, local, city, and state governments to help guide policy implementation, prioritization, and resource allocation where black New Yorkers need it most need. ”

About the State of Black New York Report
The Black New York State report was commissioned by the New York Urban League to study the position of black households in the city’s growth economy. The report uses data from the National Urban League’s 2019 National Equality Index ™ and Robin Hood Poverty and Early Childhood Poverty Trackers, along with key citywide data to highlight the differences between Black New Yorkers, and suggests solutions for the organization’s program areas: Economy , Education, digital divide, civic engagement, social (criminal) justice and health.

Main findings of the report:
ECONOMY: Poverty is still too widespread in African American communities. According to Robin Hood and Columbia University’s Poverty Tracker, 59% of black New Yorkers have lived in poverty for at least one of the past four years, and 35% of New York adult exit poverty falls back into poverty the following year.
Almost ONE IN FOUR black adults in New York lived in poverty compared to about ONE IN EIGHT white adults.
50% of the employment growth since 2010 has been in industries with average annual wages below $ 40,000.

EDUCATION: College remains a pillar against poverty and black students are not being prepared for college, work, or life.
Significant black-and-white performance gaps remain in New York schools. Whites’ knowledge of math and reading is twice that of black students.
In 2018, black students made up the lowest percentage of public school students who passed one or more AP exams by ethnicity, at 26 percent. In 2013, 29 percent of black students passed their advanced exams.
The SAT is used as a key indicator of college readiness. Black students in NYC score 17% less on the SAT than white students in reading and math.

DIGITAL DIVIDE: COVID exposed the fact that the digital divide is widening, limiting the ability of color communities to access education, professional training resources and social services
In NYC, 40% of residents lack either mobile or home internet services, and 18% are absent from both. Many Black (23%) and Hispanic (25%) families can ONLY access the Internet through smartphones.
Only 54% of households with incomes less than $ 20,000 have internet at home.
African Americans make up 7% of the technology workforce across the country and only 3% of the total Silicon Valley workforce.

CITIZEN PARTICIPATION: African American voting rights were attacked and African Americans answered the call. The challenge now is to manage the engagement
Black turnout fell 5 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election after rising since 1996.
There are 2.5 million eligible voters and 1.4 million blacks in New York City. 52% of whites voted and 48% of blacks.

SOCIAL (CRIME) JUSTICE: Blacks are still over-represented in jails and prisons due to decades of over-police and racial prejudice
By 1992, blacks and Latinos made up 92% of the NYS prison population and less than 17% of the state’s population.
Black youth account for 63% of prison sentences for the judicial system.
Black adolescents are three times more likely than whites to be arrested on suspicion and to have a juvenile felony or misdemeanor compared to white peers (15%).

BLESS YOU: Black New Yorkers are at risk of disease and death because of the health problems and the different treatment and accessibility
In 2018, one in four black adults in New York faced a health problem (Poverty Tracker, 2020).
Today, black New Yorkers are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than whites and currently account for 28% of Covid-19 deaths, despite only making up 22% of the city’s population.
56% of blacks die before the age of 75 compared to 33% of whites.
More than 40% of black people have high blood pressure.

In light of the findings, the following influential prominent regional and national leaders have authored essays on the key topics raised in the State of Black New York report, including income inequality, education, mental health, criminal justice, community engagement, equal opportunities, and the digital divide, among others relevant topics:

Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies;
Frida Polli and Martine Cadet, CEO and Social Impact Director at Pymetrics, respectively;
Sheena Wright, President and CEO, United Way of New York City;
Clayton Banks, founder of Silicon Harlem;
Jonnel Doris, New York Department Commissioner for Small Business Services;
John Flateau, chairman of the business administration department at Medgar Evers College;
Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director of the National Action Network;
Michael Lindsay, executive director of the New York University School of Social Work;
Ana Oliviera and Camille Abrahams Emeagwali, President and CEO and Senior Vice President, Programs and Strategic Learning, respectively, for the New York Women’s Foundation;
Basil Smikle, Policy Advisor, Lecturer at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs, and Distinguished Lecturer in Politics and Public Policy at the School of Labor and Urban Studies, City University of New York;


Use the state of Black New York to better understand where the gaps and opportunities exist in racial equality
Engage, advocate, and garner support from leaders, stakeholders, companies, and communities on a shared vision and plan to improve racial equality
Discuss, use, develop and incorporate racial equality goals into existing strategies, programs and budgets
Use the state of Black New York to advocate policies, practices, and resources that improve racial equality
Partners and / or supporters of the work of the New York Urban League as we continue to advance policies and program recommendations to strengthen and improve the overall quality of life for blacks, and therefore for all New Yorkers.
Black New York State: Inequality is Unacceptable

For more details and insights, see the report at Join the conversation on Facebook (New York Urban League), IG (New York Urban League) and Twitter @NYUrbanLeague.


In the past 100 years, we have inspired, influenced and ignited over a million black people to reach their highest potential. We are committed to improving the conditions that create inequalities in the life of Black New York by addressing the issues and suggesting action to address them. At our core, we believe that inequality is not acceptable. This guiding principle drives the unwavering work of enabling African Americans and other underserved communities to secure justice. Through direct service delivery, advocacy, referrals, community capacity building, information dissemination and technical assistance, the League accomplishes its mission to empower communities and transform lives. More information is available at

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