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Urban League's State of Black Kansas City

Urban League President Gwen Grant and Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Kay Barnes hear results from the report.
Urban League President Gwen Grant and Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Kay Barnes hear results from the report.

By Sylvia Maria Gross

Kansas City, MO – A new quality of life index for the metro area sets African Americans at about 73 percent of white Americans in a set of indicators including economics, health care and education. The Urban League of Greater Kansas City worked with researchers at the University of Missouri Kansas City to analyze data from Wyandotte and Jackson Counties in a new State of Black Kansas City report. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross has more.


The Jackson County numbers showed stark differences between blacks and whites in poverty, employment, health care and education, though researchers said that was because white people in Wyandotte County are worse off than in Missouri. In one striking exception, police data showed that blacks are incarcerated almost five times as much as whites in Kansas City, Missouri, but in Kansas City, Kansas, it's ten times as often. Black Kansas Citians have about 56 percent of the income, employment and wealth of their white counterparts. In Jackson Country, 3 times more blacks live in poverty than whites and 3 times as many are unemployed. In civic engagement, blacks rated higher than whites. Urban League president Gwen Grant said African Americans needed to be included in problem-solving conversations.

GRANT: And if you convene a table to discuss education and you don't see faces like mine, bringing information about our community, that meeting should be deemed out of order.

The State of Black Kansas City study used data from Jackson and Wyandotte Counties, where 86 percent of African Americans in the area live. The study was patterned after the national Urban Leagues' annual report, and the results were similar except for in health, where black Kansas Citians did slightly better comparatively, and in economics, where they measured slightly worse.


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