Haywood Releases State of Black Pennsylvania Report

Sen. Art Haywood displays the State of Black PA report

Somewhat lost in the noise of the change in leadership in the Pennsylvania House on Tuesday, state Senator Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) announced the release of his first State of Black Pennsylvania report.

The report details the changing position of Black Pennsylvanians from 2010 to 2021, with several data points indicating the upward socioeconomic mobility of the Black community.

The 28-page report examines health, incarceration, income, and population data for Black Pennsylvanians. The data was pulled from a number of sources to put together a complete picture of the Black experience in PA over the past decade.

“In the past decade the middle class expanded, black poverty declined, high earners increased significantly, and black state incarceration dropped sharply,” said Haywood. “These and other surprises are contained in this special report prepared by the Senate Democratic Policy and Research Office for Black History Month.  After centuries of enslavement, almost 100 years of segregation and continued discrimination this report highlights Black History Month achievements in Pennsylvania.”

The data is not meant to compare Pennsylvania’s black and white populations, but rather show changes over time and address issues at hand.

Highlights in the report include that as Pennsylvania continues to become more racially diverse, data shows a decline in Pennsylvanians identifying solely as Black or African American over the past decade. During this same period, the median income of Black households increased by over $10,000, and the number of Black households earning $100,000 or more climbed from 38,626 to 92,576.

Black Pennsylvanians experienced slow, steady growth in their earnings between 2010 and 2021. Income gains occurred among low- to middle-income earners, with the most impressive increases occurring among Black households earning $100,000 or more, or approximately 54,000 additional Black households in 2021 as compared to a decade earlier. Despite this progress, the poverty rate among the state’s Black community remains at nearly 25 percent of Black individuals in 2021.

Several lawmakers joined Haywood to announce the release of the report including Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia), Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), and state Rep. Donna Bullock (D-Philadelphia). They noted the report can be used as a resource to craft legislation and develop policy that further supports and betters the lives of the Black community.

“We now have foundational data that can lead us forward in this moment of incredible opportunity,” said Hughes. “Pennsylvania is currently sitting on a growing budget surplus. We should seize the moment. We should embrace the opportunity to make an even bigger difference for African Americans. This report shows progress, but let’s keep fighting, let’s keep pushing.”

“This report makes me hopeful, especially when we look at the declining numbers of state incarceration. But there is more work to do,” said Street. “We need to focus on medical parole and other measures that can make our criminal justice system truly just. We can make even greater strides for Black people across Pennsylvania.”

“What this report tells us is that when we advance policies and legislation to improve the lives of Pennsylvania, if those policies are applied fairly across the board, Black folks will benefit,” said Bullock. “But what this report also tells us is that we still have more work to do. The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus endorses this report and looks forward to working with Sen. Haywood and our other members in the Senate to advance legislation that is informed by the report and by the experiences of our constituents. Legislation that is anti-racist and data-driven.”

2 Responses

  1. The world is trending into a really great place. Everyone can see it and feel it.

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  • Who Will Be Speaker of the PA House on February 28?

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    • Mark Rozzi (27%)
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