Racial Disparity

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 1.88
Current (2017): 2.07

Theme Prosperous


Ratio of white median household income to black median household income

Why is it Important?

Racial disparities such as the gap in income between whites and blacks are serious roadblocks to building a sustainable and equitable society.1 The disparity in income is due to a variety of factors, which includes differences in work experience, education, and choice of occupation but may also be due to discrimination, whether unconscious or overt. Addressing these factors and closing the gap will increase choice and opportunity for all residents, regardless of race. 

How are we Doing?

The disparity between white and black median household income was larger in 2017, 2.07, than it was in 2010, 1.88. As of 2017, the average white (non-Hispanic) household in St. Louis earned $66,942, more than twice as much as the average black (non-Hispanic) household income of $33,325. This disparity increased over the longer time frame from 1.79 in 2000. Racial disparity in the region increased during and after the Great Recession to 2.09 in 2012 and has declined slightly over the past few years.

The racial disparity in income is higher in the St. Louis area than the United States in 2017, 2.07 and 1.64, respectively. The United States did not see the same increase over the past year as the St. Louis region did. Among the 48 most populous metropolitan regions for which there is complete data, St. Louis ranks as having the 7th highest disparity in household income between whites and blacks. Many of the peer regions have not seen the same increase in disparity of income as St. Louis. The region ranked 20th in 2016, 12th in 2014, and 17th in 2015. Many of the peer Midwestern regions have similar disparities.

Racial Disparity STL

Geographic Level

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). View map.


1The racial composition of the St. Louis region is largely white and African American with only eight percent of the population being of other races (2016). Since the St. Louis region is largely bi-racial, this indicator focuses on the disparity between blacks and whites. 

Data Sources

U.S. Census and American Community Survey, United States Census Bureau