Wisconsin's Extreme Racial Disparity

In Time for Martin Luther King, Jr Day, New Report Highlights Wide Black-White Disparities in Economic Outcomes
Download Document
January 12, 2017

Contact: Laura Dresser | 608-262-6944 | ldresser@cows.org

Madison, WI— Today, COWS released Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity 2017. The report shines a light on the fact that racial disparity in Wisconsin is, indeed, extreme. Wisconsin is among the worst of states considering disparity between black and white residents in an array of outcomes. Brutal inequities in the state span measures of poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration.


A few findings:

  • Wisconsin’s median white household has annual income of just over $58,200 is roughly two times the median African American household annual income ($29,200). Only two states – Minnesota and Louisiana – generate greater black/white inequality in household income.
  • Blacks were nearly four times more likely to be unemployed than whites. Only Connecticut and Minnesota generate a higher levels of racial disparity in unemployment.
  • With a ratio of 11.5 black prisoners to 1 white prisoner, Wisconsin is second only to New Jersey on disparity in incarceration, with a ratio of 12.2 to 1.

“The gap in economic and educational outcomes between black and white Wisconsinites is not inevitable, but instead has widened over the past thirty years,” said Laura Dresser, Associate Director of COWS. “We hope that this report will support the work of so many advocates in the state working to close these gaps and build a more inclusive Wisconsin.”


View full report here: http://www.cows.org/_data/documents/1816.pdf.


For additional reports about Wisconsin’s economic outcomes, see also:

The State of Working Wisconsin 2016: http://www.cows.org/state-of-working-wisconsin-2016