Chicago Crusader staff report
As shootings continue to plague Chicago, many young Black males in the city’s South and West Sides don’t have a job and are not in school, according to a report by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute. For young Black males statewide, the report says the unemployment rate is even higher.
The report reaffirms longstanding concerns among urban leaders, who for years attributed high crime rates and low academic achievement among youth to unemployment and poverty.
Among major cities, the report said Chicago had the highest unemployment rate for young Black males. The report, entitled: Lost: The Crisis of Jobless and Out of School Teens and Young Adults in Chicago, Illinois, and the U.S was released on Monday, January 25.
The study compared unemployment among young men and women in Chicago with national numbers and uncovered serious problems affecting young Black men in the city.
According to the study, 47 percent of the cities’ 20-24 year old Black males were out of school and also out of work in 2014. The unemployment rate was lower for Black males in New York City and Los Angeles. In those cities, 30.8 percent of Back males were without jobs, according to the report. The national average is 32 percent.
In addition, the report said a staggering 88.5 percent of Black males in Chicago, ages 16-19, and 87.4 percent of Hispanic males were jobless in 2014.
“The unemployment rates of African American males has reac-hed a crisis level. In fact, Chicago leads the nation in youth unemployment,” said Commissioner Richard Boykin in a statement. “Today, the testimony of young people made clear that a job is the best deterrent against crime and antisocial activity.”
On Saturday, January 30, at 10 a.m. at the Austin Community Center, 501 N. Central Avenue, Commissioner Boykin, in partnership with Congressman Danny K. Davis, Alderman Emma Mitts and Alderman Chris Taliaferro will hear directly from youth on what leaders can do to reduce violence and create opportunity for young people in their communities. The event, which is being billed as a “Teen Summit,” will be followed by a community basketball game with some special guest participants.
“Conditions of joblessness are chronic, concentrated and comparatively worse than elsewhere in the country,” said Teresa Cordova, director of the Great Cities Institute. She called the prevalence of jobless among Black males “definitely at crisis proportions.”
According to the report, many of the young Black males who are unemployed and not in school, live in Englewood, North Lawndale, Fuller Park and East Garfield Park. Many of these neighborhoods are plagued with high crime rates and shootings. The unemployment rate was lower among young Blacks who live on the North, Northwest and Southwest sides of Chicago.
Statewide, the data shows that 44 percent of young Black men were unemployed and not in school. Among Black females in Chicago, 35.3 percent were out of work and not in school, according to the report. That figure was also higher than the national average, which is 24.7 percent.
The report was commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network and was based on census data. The report was presented at the fifth annual hearing on youth unemployment, hosted by the Chicago Urban League at its headquarters in Bronzeville. The conference included speeches and information shared by dozens of Black community and elected officials.