African-American College Graduation Rates Hit All-Time High. Why Are Economic Outcomes Still Lagging?

Isheka N. Harrison
Written by Isheka N. Harrison
A student in the audience waves during First Lady Michelle Obama speech for the Tuskegee University Commencement ceremony in Tuskegee, Alabama Saturday May 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Education has often been called “the great equalizer,” but according to results from a recent study, that adage has not held true for Blacks in America. Despite phenomenal gains in educational attainment, Blacks still lag behind whites economically in most critical areas, MarketWatch reported.

Some of the alarming statistics the study found include: only 40% of Blacks own homes, the incarceration rate for Blacks is over 6 times higher than that of whites and Blacks are still 2.5 times as likely whites to live in poverty.

Blacks’ position in the economy are in sharp contrast to stats which show 92% of Blacks graduate from high school and more Blacks are receiving college degrees.

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Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop the economic outcomes for Blacks from being eerily similar to those in 1968, the year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

Systemic issues like predatory lending, racial discrimination in hiring and funding being cut for public education are among some of the reasons Blacks are having trouble achieving wealth equality with whites.

If systemic racism and oppression is America’s systems are not abolished, there is fear economic setbacks that rival those of Blacks during the Great Recession could be repeated.

About Isheka N. Harrison

Isheka N. Harrison is an experienced writer, editor, educator, media and communications professional who thoroughly enjoys telling people’s stories. A former editor of the South Florida Times, Isheka has been featured as a speaker for New Florida Majority’s “Black Women in Media” Panel for Women’s History Month, served as a judge for JM Lexus’ 2018 African American Achievers Awards and named one of “South Florida’s 40 Under 40 Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow” by Legacy Magazine/Miami Herald. A native of Miami, Isheka's work has appeared in notable local and national media outlets including: ESSENCE Magazine, Upscale Magazine, The Miami Herald, The Miami Times and more. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Relations from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Clark Atlanta University. Isheka is also a member of several para-professional organizations including the Black Professionals Network (BPN), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) South Florida and ColorComm. To learn more about her story, you can connect with Isheka on LinkedIn at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ishekah. To pitch her any tips or ideas for articles, email her at