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UNC Study: Blacks Add Nearly $45 Billion to State's Economy

Posted November 13, 2007

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— A recent study shows blacks in North Carolina contribute more than $44.7 billlion to the state's economy through their purchases and taxes.

The study, "The Economic Impact of the African-American Population on the State of North Carolina," said if growth trends continue, the total economic impact of blacks' spendings in the state could increase to $60 billion by 2009.

The report, conducted by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, also shows black residents cost the state budget $4.5 billion for health care, education and corrections. It follows the institute's January 2006 report on the economic impact of the state's Hispanic population.

"This study shows that clear opportunities exist for financial institutions and other businesses to capitalize on this growing market," said Andrea Harris, president of the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development, major funder of the study. "It also offers recommendations for expanding economic opportunity and impact."

Among the findings of the study, which used 2004 and 2005 data for analysis:

  • North Carolina's African-American population totaled 1.8 million, or 21.8 percent of the state's total population, and accounted for 20.4 percent of the state population growth from 1980 to 2004.
  • Forty-two percent of the African-American population is concentrated in six metropolitan counties: Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford, Cumberland, Durham and Forsyth.
  • The state's African-American population is substantially younger (median age 32) than the state's white population (median age 39).
  • African-Americans are less likely than whites to live in nuclear families (41.1 percent versus 70.1 percent) and more likely to live in single-parent families (42 percent versus 11 percent).
  • African-American households (average size 3.3 persons) tend to be larger than white households (average size 3.0 persons).
  • African-Americans accounted for 29.3 percent of the state's overall workforce increase between 1995 and 2005, with two sectors - education and health services (118,522) and leisure and hospitality services (71,034) - absorbing the largest increases of workers.
  • The median education level for both blacks and whites is a high-school diploma. However, a $19,570 difference exists between the two groups in median household income and an $11,970 difference exists in per-capita income.
  • Racial disparities in earnings and income are due primarily to the fact that blacks are more likely than whites to be concentrated in low-paying occupations within North Carolina industries.
  • The share of African-Americans incarcerated in North Carolina
    (59.4 percent of all people incarcerated in the state) is nearly three times their share of the state's total population (21.8 percent).
  • African-Americans annually pay $3.8 billion in state and local taxes (direct and indirect), while costing state and local budgets about $4.5 billion annually for K-12 education ($2.7 billion), health care ($1.3 billion), and corrections ($453 million), for a net cost to the state of about $759 million, or approximately $420 per resident after their tax contributions are considered.

Researchers said there were three areas of opportunity to expand blacks' economic impact in the state – helping black-owned businesses capitalize in the global economy, providing entrepreneurial training and support for ex-offenders and improving K-12 education.


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  • murph Nov 14, 2007

    They did a similar study last year on hispanics. Each hispanic person costs the state $102 per year while each african-american costs the state $420 per year. Interesting...

  • WTFmph Nov 14, 2007

    Check the site's own math folks.

    A $420 deficit for each of 1.8 million NC black residents adds up to a $756 million dollar deficit instead of the $45 billion asset the headline reads.

    Perhaps there was something someone found offensive in my first post which quoted verbatim mostly from the article.

    If this post is censored, it is because they don't enjoy being called to task for their actions.

    If so, shame on you, WRAL.

  • achilles7ls Nov 14, 2007

    Because there is a specific difference in the way people of different races spend money. You might be suprised how much money companies spend to research this and to take advantage of it in their advertising.
    NOTE: White people tend to jump from brand to brand and try different companies..Black folks tend to be more brand loyal....a little marketing tid bit.

  • djofraleigh Nov 13, 2007

    Thinkaboutit "I thought the CIAA tournament alone brought in $45 billion dollars when it was in Raleigh.......another statistical joke!"

    Try $15 million boost to the local economy...you were about 3000 times too high. (I hate math, don't you.)

    Statistics are meaningful, as a whole, but meaningless for any one individual.

  • issymayake Nov 13, 2007

    "What does this story have to do with Racism....Please someone let me in on the secret"

    Absolutely nothing. I still haven't received a response from page one.

    Seeing as studies are done all the time on Hispanic populations, the Native American Casino industry, tobacco, pork, furniture, impact of the CIAA tournament, the MEAC tournament, the Continental Bowl, etc. . .what's the difference?

  • Its me again Nov 13, 2007

    "African-Americans are less likely than whites to live in nuclear families (41.1 percent versus 70.1 percent) and more likely to live in single-parent families (42 percent versus 11 percent"
    the breakdown of the family in any group of people leads to the breakdown of society. I hope that the community of leaders will see this as an opportunity to address this issue.Only then will see real progress in bringing our nation together.

  • naturalborncitizen Nov 13, 2007

    Thinkaboutit, no the ciaa tournament did not generate $45 billion, not even $45 million. More like $4.5 million. Do you really think a tournament generates about half a years net global sales for a corporation the size of IBM?

  • dougalu Nov 13, 2007

    All this data is needed for Affirmative Action and other quota's

  • Dazd N Confused Nov 13, 2007

    Why does it matter whether a person of one race spends "$xxx" and another spends "$yyy?" I just don't understand why it matters to the point that a University spends the resources to find that out. I could understand a marketing company spending the money and resouces to find that out... because they will make money off of the information. Maybe it's because I'm white and went to a 95% black school? I don't know. This is the 21st Century people why can't we just stop talking about race?

  • thinkbeforespeaking Nov 13, 2007

    This story is just throwing some numbers around.....nothing about racism should have come up.. But this is the society we live in. Black, White, Blue, Green, we all have a opinion and yes people get paid for their opinions....