According to the U. S. Census Bureau, 13% of Minnesota’s foreign-born residents (approximately 34,000) are from Africa—a higher percentage than any other state in the country. Today, that number is estimated to be around 200,000.
Though African immigrants strengthen Minnesota’s economy through taxes, workforce capacity and growth, and consumption, they experience a lower level of access to social service, educational, and employment resources than any other minority and immigrant group due to cultural, linguistic, and financial barriers. Also, the U. S. Department of Labor reports that the unemployment rate fell from 10% to 9.7% in January 2010, but increased to 16.5% for blacks and African Americans. According to the 2007 American Community Survey, the average household incomes for Africans in Minnesota fall below poverty guidelines.
The gap between the personal wealth of white and black Americans has grown wider. That is the finding from a report released recently by the California-based Insight Center for Community Economic Development. National Public Radio’s Jacki Lyden speaks with Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist and president of Bennett College, about the so-called “racial wealth gap.”