Schnirman releases report presenting racial economic disparity

Jessica Parks
Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman (Photo courtesy of the Nassau County Comptroller's Office)

Nassau County is projected to be majority-minority within the next 15 years, reflecting a rate much quicker than the rest of the country, as recorded in a report released by the Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman’s office last Wednesday.

The report also outlines the key variables of the county’s racial economic gap.

The Black Economic Equity report reveals a 17 percent gap in the attainment of bachelor’s degrees between white and black students.

The white population of Nassau County is 5 percent more likely to receive a high school diploma than their black counterparts.

In 2002, Nassau County formed the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise program with part of its mission to level the playing field in county contracting.

Currently, there are 162 active registrants in the program which represents a significant drop from the 977 registrants throughout the history of the program.

The report states that of the county’s top 20 awarded capital contracts only two were awarded to a minority or women-owned business, and both of those businesses were owned by white women.

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners list 12,370 black-owned business in Nassau County and 44,392 owned by minorities.

Income inequality in Nassau County has expanded in recent years, according to the comptroller’s report.

Data shows that the median household income for black households in Nassau County is $88,107 while white households earn $107,465 on average.

Median hourly earnings between white men and black men in 2015 were $21 and $15 respectively. White women were recorded as earning $17 an hour on average with black women earning $13.

Along with PolicyLink, the Urban League of Long Island reported missed economic activity because of the racial income gap on Long Island. The groups estimated that if it were closed the Long Island economy would have been $24 billion stronger in 2014.

A credit profile of Long Island by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found when analyzing credit metrics that is it one of the highest performing regions in the country.

However, a deeper look into specific communities found that 18 on Long Island were the lowest performing in the nation. Those communities are in areas that have large black populations.

Glen Cove and Old Westbury were listed among the worst in the nation for credit access issues. Freeport and Uniondale among the worst for high revolving credit, meaning high credit card balances.

Freeport and Uniondale were also among the worst for credit access and debit management issues.

“Our report shows the challenges are clear and the impacts are widespread,” Schnirman said. “Nassau County’s economy is weakened when entire communities experience economic inequity.”

As of 2016, there was 155,583 black residents in the county representing 11 percent of the population.

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Jessica Parks

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