Economists say the Great Recession officially ended in 2009, and with each passing month, politicians tout the economic progress made throughout the country. But the recovery is still a long way off for many and a new study shows that states with large minority populations are disproportionately struggling to dig themselves out of the economic disaster. The Center for Social Inclusion's report (PDF) looks at housing, jobs, health, and socio-fiscal factors to create the Recession Impact Index, which breaks down the effect the recession has had on individual states.
States with a higher than average percentage of residents of color (the national average is 36.9 percent) have been hit hardest by the recession, the center's report shows. Of the 15 states with a higher-than-average percentage of people of color, 12 have been among the hardest hit by the recession, according to the Recession Impact Index. Nevada (with 42.6 percent of its population persons of color) took the biggest lump by March of this year, ravaged by foreclosures and unemployment. Meanwhile, one of the whitest state in the country, Massachusetts (with a 23.9 percent of its population from a minority group), is recovering quite nicely, thanks in part to the state's health insurance mandate. Illinois is the 20th-most impacted state, according to the study.
Part of the solution is to do the opposite of what Washington pols are doing -- expand the Affordable Care Act, increase funding for Head Start and Pell Grants, and reverse cuts to anti-poverty efforts like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. But that's not where the discussions in D.C. are at this moment.