Monday, July 27, 2009

let's look at the numbers, oregon

today, i saw a tweet on my twitter feed reading, "Urban League Study Not Encouraging For Oregon's Black Population," with a link to this link, an oregon public broadcasting article.

the article reviewed a study from the urban league of portland concerning the status of african-americans in oregon. the study found that:
"30 percent of African Americans in Oregon live in poverty -- compared to 13 percent of whites... whites are twice as likely to own a home... [and] that while 28 percent of whites hold a bachelor’s degree -- only 19 percent of blacks have a degree."

this does sound like sad news.

but let's really inspect these numbers.

according to some information from the census bureau, oregon's 2008 population can be estimated to be around 3,790,060. 90.3% of the population is white; 2.0% of the population in the state is black; and the rest of the population is of one of many other ethnicities or claims two ethnic backgrounds. 2% of the population is black. that means there are roughly 3,425,835 white people living in oregon and 75,801 black people.

if the study's percentages are correct, this means that 22,740 black live in poverty compared to 445,358 whites. it means 14,402 african-americans have college degrees (out of 75,000) in comparison to a mere 959,233 white people (out of almost 3.4 million!) isn't surreal that less than 1 million caucasian oregonians have degrees out of almost three and a half white oregonian adults? isn't it sad that combining the black and white populations of those oregonians with bachelor degrees, there may not even be one million college educated adults in this state?

and as the black population comprises on 2% of the population in this state, of course white oregonians are going to be be twice more likely to own homes. white adults constitute more than two times the population.

this study from the urban league doesn't say much about oregon's black population. and this not to say that oregon's black population is insignificant, can be overlooked due to its size. what it does say is that the state as a whole needs to address issues of poverty and education more actively. these are issues that are obviously affecting all oregonians and must be addressed at a state level.

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