In America today, 62.8% of the population is white, and 12.2% is African American. Dense, urban cities tend to be more racially diverse than the country as a whole. In the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area, 47.8% of residents are white and 24.9% are African American.
Wealth is often divided along racial lines. Nationwide, the typical white household earns $61,394 a year. Meanwhile, the typical African American household earns just 59.5% of the median income for white households, or $36,544 a year. In Washington, the typical African American household earns 60.9% of that of the typical white household, an income disparity similar to the nation as a whole.
Similarly, while 4.9% of white residents in Washington live below the poverty line, an estimated 12.9% of African American metro area residents do. Of all white households in the area, 20.5% earn $200,000 or more annually, compared to just 6.9% of African American households.
One reason for the racial income disparity in Washington and across the country may be the divergence of education levels across racial groups. Nationwide, 34.2% of white Americans have at least a bachelor’s degree, while 20.2% of African Americans have similar educational attainment. In Washington, the college attainment rate among white adults is 61.1%, while it is only 33.2% among African American adults.