Nearly half of young black men in Chicago are neither in school nor working


Nearly half of young black men in Chicago are neither in school nor working, according to a new report.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute found that 47% of young black men aged 20–24 in Chicago aren’t working or in school, compared to 32% of black men nationwide, and 31% in both New York and Los Angeles.

The problem for Chicago’s young black women is not much better. The report found 35.3% were neither working nor in school, compared with 24.7% nationally.

The study also looked at young Hispanics, finding that 20% were jobless and out of school in Chicago, compared with 18% nationwide.

For Chicago’s white youth, aged 20–24, 6.7% were out of school and out of work.

The report blames Chicago’s highly segregated neighborhoods for the disparity, showing maps that draw a correlation between the city’s ethnic population distribution with joblessness.

Data from Brown University show Chicago is America’s most segregated city; L.A. and New York are not even in the top 10.

“Chicago Community Areas are highly segregated for the population ages 18 to 24 with high concentrations of Blacks on the cities South and West Side, high concentrations of White (non-Hispanic or Latino) on the North side, and high concentrations of Hispanic or Latino’s on the Northwest, Southwest, and East Sides,” the report said. “Out of work disparities by race and ethnicity are primarily concentrated in the same spaces where those populations are dominant.”

That conclusion is congruent with a recent high-level study published by Stanford economist Raj Chetty showing strong correlations between a neighborhoods’ economic opportunities and life outcomes.

“Neighborhoods have substantial childhood exposure effects,” Chetty wrote. “That is, every additional year of childhood spent in a better environment improves a child’s long-term outcomes.”

The Chicago report was commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network. It will be presented Monday at an annual hearing on youth unemployment hosted by the Chicago Urban League, the Tribune reported.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.

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