52% of Black Men in Chicago Are Not Working

May 9, 2012


52% of Black Men in Chicago Are Not Working – Quality of Life Very Low for Black Men in Chicago 

Black community demands $100 Million Chicago Plan for Black Men and Boys Similar to New York City’s $127 Million Plan to Improve Outcomes for Black Men and Boys


Chicago cannot achieve its full potential as a great city when 52% of its Black men are not in the labor force.  Only 48.3% of available Black men in Chicago between the ages of 16 and 64 are employed, (according to a recent report, Race and Male Employment in the Wake of the Great Recession by Marc Levine of the Center for Economic Development at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).  A similar study by Andrew Sum with the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston shows that 90% of young Black men 16 to 19 years old did not work in Chicago last summer. 

New York City is investing $127 million over three years in Black and Latino men and boys to improve the city.  The Black Star Project is calling for a similar Chicago Plan for Black Men and Boys that would invest $100 million to improve societal outcomes for Black men and boys in Chicago. 

Massive unemployment among Black men and youth drives violence and murders, contributes to broken family structures, indirectly discourages educational achievement, and causes chaos and disfunctionality in Chicago communities. The Chicago Plan for Black Men and Boys would include mentoring, educational support, job training, job connection, entrepreneurship, fathering support, strengthening families, spiritual development and community building. 


Chicago has become a tale of two cities: One city wealthy with good schools and safe communities for Asian and White citizens and the other city poor with horrible schools and dangerous neighborhoods for Black citizens.  The Chicago Plan for Black Men and Boys will help to make Chicago a high-quality city for all citizens. 


Silent Genocide:

Facts about the Devastating Plight of Black Males in America[1]


  • In Chicago, only three out of 100 Black boys earn a college degree by age 25.
  • In 2008, only 44% of Black males graduated from high school in Chicago (near the U.S. average for Black males); only 28% graduated in New York City and 27% in Detroit. 
  • Just 22% of Black males who begin at a four-year college graduate within six years.
  • 69% of Black children in America cannot read at grade level by the 4th grade, compared with 29% of White 4th-grade children.
  • The average 17-year-old Black student has the reading and math scores of the average 14-year-old White student.
  • 7% of Black 8th-graders perform math at grade level.
  • 67% of Black children are born out of wedlock. 


  • In Chicago, 52 % of all Black men between the ages of 16 and 64 years old are jobless.
  • In Illinois, 47% of all non-institutionalized Black men do not have a job.
  • In New York City in 2003, only 51.8% of Black men ages 16 to 64 were employed compared to 75.7% of White men and 65.7% of Latino men in that age group.
  • At comparable educational levels, Black men earn 67% of what White men earn.
  • White males with a high-school diploma are just as likely to have a job and generally earn just as much as Black males with college degrees.
  • Blacks make up only 3.2% of lawyers, 3% of doctors and less than 1% of architects in America.  Many of these are Black women.
  • 53% of Black men aged 25 to 34 are either unemployed or earn too little to lift a family of four from poverty.
  • Nationally, 72% of Black high-school dropouts are unemployed.
  • Black America lost between $72 billion and $96 billion in the recent mortgage fiasco.
  • The median net worth of a Black family in America is $6,100 verses $67,000 for a White family.
  • Young Black men with a Black sounding or Africanized name, Like Trayvon, even with a college degree and the exact same academic credentials as a person perceived to be a White male, are 1/2 as likely to be called back for a job interview.
  • White men with prison records receive more offers for entry-level jobs in New York City than Black men with identical records (and White male ex-offenders are offered jobs just as often – if not more so – than Black men who have never been arrested). 


  • More Black children died in Chicago from gunfire in 2010 than Chicago soldiers died in Iraq.
  • Murders of Black males between the ages of 14- and 17-years old rose by 40% between 2000 and 2007.  During that same period, murders committed by Black males between the ages of 14- and 17-years old rose by 38%.
    In 2001, the chances of going to prison were highest among Black males (32.2%) and Hispanic males (17.2%) and lowest among White males (5.9%).
  • Blacks comprise only 12% of the U.S. population, but 44% of all prisoners in the United States are Black.
  • Blacks, who comprise only 12% of the population and account for about 13% of drug users, constitute 35% of all arrests for drug possession, 55% of all convictions on those charges, and 74% of people sentenced to prison for possession.
  • In at least 15 states, Black men were sent to prison on drug charges at rates ranging from 20 to 57 times those of White men.
  • In 2003, 1,172 Black children and teenagers in the United States died from gunfire.
  • One in nine Black men between 20- to 34-years old is imprisoned and one in 15 Black men over 18-years old is imprisoned.
  • 1.46 million Black men out of a total voting population of 10.4 million Black men have lost their right to vote because of felony convictions. 

These statistics were compiled from various sources by The Black Star Project.  You may request sources at blackstar1000@ameritech.net.  To join the movement to save young Black men and to educate Black children, please call us at 773.285.9600, email us at blackstar1000@ameritech.net or visit our website at www.blackstarproject.org.

 Click on http://www4.uwm.edu/ced/publications/blackcrisis307.pdf  to read full report on Black Male Joblessness.



2 Responses to 52% of Black Men in Chicago Are Not Working

  1. Vance Greene on May 15, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    These statistics are HORRIFIC, to say the least! I knew we were in trouble, BUT, OH MY GOD! I was a Mentor for MANY years! Now my Son is Mentoring! I realize that it’s time to STRAP ON THE BOOTS & GO TO WAR!
    As Brotha Reggie Bullock would say “A WAR FOR YOUR SOUL”!

  2. Julie Colbert on May 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Another sad and same ol story about the plight of AA unemployment. What I want to know is why do we keep voting the same way? Why are we not putting the pressure on our so-called DEM politicians that WE vote in. Nothing we change as long as we do the same things all the time…voting in the DEM who can care less about us until election time.

The Black Star Project

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