New Report: Race in the Heartland
Highlighting Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity
In the 20th Century, people from around the world came to Wisconsin and the Midwest, seeking opportunity in the industrial boom. Manufacturing and unions helped create good jobs for many black workers, but discrimination and segregation limited that sharply. When industrial jobs declined, black Midwesterners suffered the most. Over the last 40 years, opportunity and outcomes for black residents in Wisconsin have fallen below national averages. As a result, black Wisconsinites face stubborn barriers and road blocks that many white people don’t even know are there. Racial disparity in Wisconsin is not inevitable, but closing the gap will require a broad focus and multifaceted approach.
Today, with our partners, we co-release ‘Race in the Heartland‘, which provides critical regional, historical, and political context to help draw a more complete picture of the brutal racial inequality of the Midwest. For a Wisconsin-focused summary of this report, please read “Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity“.
Wisconsin has the regrettable distinction of ranking among the worst states in the nation for racial inequality. Disparities among black and white residents of our state – spanning poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration – have been documented consistently for more than a decade. Although activists and policymakers have increasingly focused on addressing these issues, they remain pressing.
‘Race in the Heartland’ is written by Colin Gordon, and is a joint project of the Iowa Policy Project, Policy Matters Ohio, COWS, and the Economic Policy Institute.
COWS is a nonprofit think-and-do tank, based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which promotes “high road” solutions to social problems. These treat shared growth and opportunity, environmental sustainability, and resilient democratic institutions as necessary and achievable complements in human development. Through our various projects, we work with cities around the country to promote innovation and the implementation of high road policy. COWS is nonpartisan but values-based. We seek a world of equal opportunity and security for all.