Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The consequences of the Great Recession “and the Obama administration’s response to it” have fallen most heavily on Black children, who have been plunged into poverty at the highest levels ever recorded. Poverty rates have gone down for all children except Blacks – an example of actual American “exceptionalism.”

Obama’s Legacy: Black Child Poverty at Record High

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The raw numbers of poor Black kids now exceeds whites in absolute terms.”

A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that Black children have been reduced to record levels of poverty over the last several years. Black kids are four times as likely to be poor as white children, with Black child poverty now cresting at 38.3 percent. Only 10.7 percent of white children live in poverty. Asian children are the least poor of all, at only 10.1 percent. Hispanic kids are about three times more likely than whites to live in poverty-stricken households, at 30.4 percent.

The trend is even more disturbing. Overall, child poverty fell by 20 percent between the years 2010 and 2013, according to U.S. Census data. The decline was registered for every major racial group – except Black kids, whose poverty level remained stuck at record highs.

And, it gets worse. For the first time since the federal government began gathering statistics on poverty, the raw numbers of poor Black kids now exceeds whites in absolute terms. Remember back when Jesse Jackson used to point out that there were more poor white Americans than poor Blacks. Today, when it comes to children, that is no longer the case. And yet, the federal poverty program that serves poor families with children is stingier than it has ever been.

Whose fault?

The analysts at the Pew Research Center offered no rationale for why Black kids are faring so badly in the current economy. But, several factors are obvious. During the Great Recession, Black household wealth fell to one-twentieth that of median white households. After debts were subtracted from assets, the median white household was worth a little over $113,000, while Black households could lay claim to only $5,600 in assets. Half of Black households were worse off than that, and about half of those had virtually no family worth at all. That means the children of such households began life economically naked to the world.

The closely related culprit is Black unemployment, which has been stuck at roughly twice that of whites for more than two generations, then hit record levels during the Great Recession, and stayed there for longer than any other group.

The consequences of the economic crash and the Obama administration’s response to it, are now borne by Black children, who start off life in an historically worse condition than any other major group, and more vulnerable than the Black kids of previous generations. This is President Obama’s legacy, as the chief executive who began his first term with a blanket refusal to target federal programs to Black people, who had suffered the worst from the deliberate policies of his friends on Wall Street. Obama has since claimed to have lifted every boat – except those of the children of the people he claims as his own.

Now, let the choir sing “Amazing Grace.”

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at



Direct download: 20150715_gf_BlackChildPoverty.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:19am EDT