Urban League Releases Report On New Orleans Since Katrina

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A new report suggests the African-American community in New Orleans has made educational gains since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 but has not increased its median income as much as white households.

         The report was released Friday in New Orleans by the Urban League of Greater New Orleans and the National Urban League.

         African-Americans still represent the majority of the city's post-Katrina population — about 59 percent. But only 48 percent of that population is employed.

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         "The challenge of black male employment is not a challenge unique to New Orleans. It is a challenge across the nation," said former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League.

         The median income gap between black and white households in New Orleans has widened by 18 percent from 2005 to 2013, according to the Urban League report. That's because the median white household in New Orleans increased from $49,262 to $60,553, while the mean African population only rose from $23,394 to $25,102, their analysis showed.

         Black children living in poverty has increased since Katrina as well, from 44 percent in 2005 to 50.5 percent in 2013, according to the Urban League.

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         Among the positive post-Katrina trends documented by the Urban League study, the high school graduation rate among New Orleans black public school students has risen from 56 percent in the 2004-05 school year to about 73 percent in 2013-14.

         New Orleans has not made a corresponding gain in the number of black men holding bachelor's degrees or higher, however. A smaller percentage of African-American New Orleans men hold bachelor's degrees now than before the storm — 13.7 percent in 2013 compared to 16.6 percent in 2005, according to the Urban League report. More African-American New Orleans women hold bachelor's degrees or higher: 21 percent in 2013 compared to 19 percent in 2005.

         "We have to encourage our young men and women to continue to seek higher ed," Morial said. "We have to let people know, if you get a college degree, over your life you will make twice as much money as those who do not."

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