The depth and breadth of systemic racism in America have come under renewed examination in 2020 as COVID-19 sweeps away lives and livelihoods and as Black Lives Matter and related equal justice protests continue through the year. There is growing awareness that the systemic racism that has tainted virtually every aspect of modern society must finally be dismantled. Following are selected indicators of the problem published in recent years.

Early Childhood

  • Infant mortality rates are much higher in minority communities, especially for non-Hispanic Black mothers (11.4 per 1,000 births), and Native American mothers (9.4 per 1,000 births), compared with white mothers (4.9 per 1,000 births). Source: CDC
  • Black mothers have a higher rate of preterm births (13.8%) than white mothers (9.1%). March of Dimes
  • Childhood obesity is more prevalent among children of American Indians and/or Native Alaskans (31.2%), non-Hispanic Blacks (20.8%), and Hispanics (22.0%) compared with their white (15.9%) and Asian (12.8%) peers. American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Black (26%) and Hispanic (24%) children are more likely to live in poverty than white children (10%). Pew Research Center
  • Black (54%) and Hispanic (29%) children are more likely to be living in a single parent household than white (19%) and Asian (13%) children. Pew Research Center
  • Hispanic children (7.7%) are more likely to lack health insurance than white (4.1%), Black (4%) and Asian children (3.8%). CDC
  • White (69%) and Asian (70.8%) children are almost twice as likely to have private health insurance than Black (36.3%) and Hispanic (34.8%) children. CDC


  • Black (58%), Hispanic (60%), and Asian (39%) students are far more likely to attend schools having 75% minority enrollment than are white students (6%). National Center for Education Statistics
  • Predominantly minority schools are on average twice as large as predominantly white schools, with larger class sizes (80% larger for non-special education), fewer curriculum offerings, and less qualified teachers. Students at predominantly minority schools have less than a 50% chance of getting a math or science teacher with a license or degree in that field. Education Finance and Policy Journal
  • Hispanic students (67%) are less likely to graduate high school than white (93%), Asian (89%), and Black (88%) students. United States Census Bureau
  • Black students are almost four times as likely to be suspended from school as white students, almost three times as likely to be removed from the classroom but kept within school, and almost three times as likely to be expelled. 2017 Brown Center Report on American Education
  • Black students are almost three times as likely to be referred to police for an incident on the school grounds, and three-and-a-half times as likely to be arrested for an incident, either on school grounds or during school hours. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States
  • Black (23%) and Hispanic (15%) adults are less likely to have a bachelor’s degree than white (36%) and Asian(53%) adults. National Center for Education Statistics

Employment, Income and Wealth

  • Black, Asian, and Hispanic unemployment rates consistently track much higher than white unemployment rates. Economic Policy Institute
  • Median incomes in 2018 were lower in households headed by Blacks ($41,692) and Hispanics ($51,450) than in households headed by whites ($70,642) and Asians ($87,194). EPI
  • Black individuals with bachelor’s degrees earn $82,300, significantly less than white individuals with bachelor’s degrees earning $106,600. Pew Research Center
  • Full-time, year-round Black workers are 14% less likely than similar white workers to have any type of retirement plan through their employer. Employee Benefit Research Center
  • Since 1990, white job applicants have received, on average, 36% more callbacks than Black applicants and 24% more callbacks than Latino applicants with identical résumés. Proceedings of the National Academy of  Sciences of the United States
  • Black individuals (43%) are less likely to own their home than white individuals (72%), and while homeownership rates generally rise with higher incomes and more education, the differences between Black and white households persist. Pew Research Center
  • Denial rates for conventional purchase home mortgage loans are higher for aspiring Black (15.9%) and Hispanic (11.6%) homebuyers than for white (7%) homebuyers. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau
  • Due to discrimination, accepted Latinx and African American borrowers pay 7.9 basis points more in interest for home purchase mortgages and 3.6 basis points more in interest for refinance mortgages. Lending discrimination currently costs these borrowers $765 million in extra interest per year. University of California Berkeley
  • Minorities are more likely to receive a property appraisal value that is lower than the contract price during purchase transactions. Appraisers’ opinions of value are more likely to fall below the contract price in Black and Latino census tracts, and the extent of the gap increases as the percentage of Black or Latino people in the tract increases. Analyses are showing that a large portion of appraisers are generating statistically significant gaps, and even when taking structural and neighborhood characteristics into consideration, a property is more likely to receive an appraisal lower than the contract price if it is in a minority tract. Freddie Mac

Health and Health Care

  • Teen (age 15-19) birth rates are higher for Hispanic (28.9 per 1,000) and Black (27.6 births per 1,000) teenagers than white (13.4 per 1,000) and Asian (4.6 per 1,000) teenagers. CDC
  • Black children (12.6%) are more likely to have asthma than Hispanic (7.7%) and white (7.7%.) children. CDC
  • Within racial and ethnic minority groups there is a higher overall prevalence of risk factors for coronary artery disease that are unrecognized and therefore not treated, increasing the likelihood of adverse outcomes and potentially higher morbidity and mortality.  United States National Library for Medicine
  • Black individuals are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure than their white counterparts and are less likely to have their blood pressure under control. CDC
  • At 38 per 100,000 people, Black men are over seven times more likely to die by homicide than white men (5.2 per 100,000 people). United States Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Hispanic (27.5%) and Black (14%) adults (age 18-64) are more likely to lack health  insurance than white (8.5%) and Asian (7.4%) adults.  CDC
  • White (77.5%) and Asian (77.6%) adults are more likely to have private health insurance than Black (57.5%) and Hispanic (50.5%) adults. CDC

Criminal Justice

  • In total, fines, fees, and forfeitures imposed on people who have contact with the justice system account for less than 1 percent of total state and local general revenue, but the way these are enforced can create unjust burdens: financial penalties often disproportionately fall on low-income people of color, particularly Black people, and consequences for those unable to pay can be severe. Use of revenue generated can also be problematic. Urban Institute
  • Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; once convicted, they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. Black adults are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites, and Hispanics are 3.1 times as likely. United States Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Black individuals are 3.64 times more likely to be arrested for drug violations than white individuals despite similar use rates.  American Civil Liberties Union
  • After being pulled over, Black (6%) and Hispanic (7%) drivers are three times as likely to be searched by police than white drivers (2%). United States Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Black Americans were 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated in local jails than whites. United States Bureau of Justice Statistics
  • Federal prosecutors are twice as likely to charge Blacks with offenses having mandatory minimum sentences than similarly situated whites. Yale Law Journal
  • Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly five times the rate of white Americans. Nationally, one in 81 Black adults in the U.S. is serving time in state prison. In 12 states, more than half the prison population is Black. Seven states maintain a Black/white prison disparity larger than nine to one. The Sentencing Project


  • Zip code areas with low-income populations have been consistently exposed to air pollution (dangerous fine particulate matter levels) that are higher than areas with high-income groups for the years 2004–2016. Nature
  • Redlining, the discriminatory mortgage appraisal practice of the federal Home Owners’ Loan Corporation in the 1930s, relates to present-day racial and ethnic air pollution exposure disparities in 202 U.S. cities. ACS Publications