The State of African-American Same-sex Couples

A recent report by the Williams Institute is painting a fuller picture of the African-American family by shedding light on same-sex couples within the community. The report used data derived from the 2010 U.S. census.


Key Findings

  • 3.7% of all African-American adults identify as LGBT and 34% of African-American same-sex couples are raising children.
  • African-American female same-sex couple households have significantly lower income compared to African-American male same-sex couple households (median income: $47,300 vs. $63,020.
  • LGBT African-Americans have higher unemployment rates compared to non-LGBT African-Americans (15% vs. 12%).
  • African-American same-sex couples are less likely to have health insurance coverage for both partners compared to African-American heterosexual couples (63% vs. 79%).

Some of the conclusion drawn from this report were that the wellness of African-American same-sex household is highly dependent on the sex of the couple and whether or not they were raising children. Female couples and couples raising children were shown to encounter more economic struggles compared to male couples and couples not raising children

Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health


Media and Technology Institute Stats and Studies – November 11, 2013

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ Media and Technology Institute released a report entitled Broadband and Jobs: African Americans Rely on Mobile Access and Social Networking in Job Search, showing African Americans rely disproportionately on the Internet, as opposed to personal relationships, to find jobs. Among the report’s findings, 50% of African American Internet users said the Internet was very important to them in successfully finding a job, significantly higher than the 36% average for the entire sample. Further, 46% of African American Internet users used the Internet at some point when they were looking for a job, compared to 41% for all respondents. Thirty-six percent of African Americans said they applied for a job online the last time they were in the job market, compared with 26% for all respondents. Social networking sites were very important to African Americans as well, with 31% saying they are very important to job search, which is seven percentage points greater than the entire sample (24%).

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity released a report entitled Fast Food FACTS 2013 which focuses on fast food advertising targeting children and teens. Among the report’s findings, “children ages 6 to 11 saw 10% fewer TV ads for fast food, but children and teens continued to see three to five fast food ads on TV every day.” Further, only one quarter of fast food ads were for healthier kids’ meals. Nevertheless, only 1% of kids’ meals served at the top fast foods restaurants meet experts’ nutritional standardsSpanish language fast food advertising increased by 16%, and “fast food marketing via social media and mobile devices – media that are popular with teens – grew exponentially. released its third quarter tech employment snapshot showing 3.9% unemployment in the technology sector compared to 7.3% unemployment overall. The unemployment rate in September was 12.9% for blacks and 9% for Hispanics. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), Asian women have the highest unemployment rate (7.4%) among all racial and ethnic groups within the technology sector. The NSF has also found that underrepresented minorities including African Americans, Latinos and American Indians are unemployed within the technology sector at a rate of 6.7% for men and 6.6% for women.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released a study of federal longitudinal data since 1997 showing a high correlation between the level of math students completed in high school and their high school graduation, college attendance and unemployment rates. High level math (Algebra II or above) completion correlated more strongly with high school graduation rates than parental educational backgrounds, according to the report. Students who completed math above Algebra II attended college at a rate more than 20 points higher (over 90%) than those completing only Algebra II. High school graduates with Geometry or Algebra II were also more than 10 percentage points less likely to be unemployed than those with Pre-Algebra or Algebra I.

The U.S. is losing its advantage in spying and cybersecurity, according to a new report by the National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the United States Intelligence Community, a congressional panel tasked with evaluating the nation’s cyber-defense capabilities.

The Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) released a report recommending a shift, in researching the digital divide, away from access and more toward “the willingness and ability of citizens to use [broadband] for productive purposes”. Among other key findings, 64% of survey respondents cited affordability as the most significant obstacle to adoption, and 56% cited a lack of ability/skills to use ICTs.

A new Gallup poll shows Internet use “among seniors and Americans of lower socioeconomic status has surged since 2002, but still lags behind that of the rest of the public.”  In 2002, 33% of adults aged 65+ used the Internet, compared to 65% today. Further, in 2002, just 42% of U.S. adults earning less than $20,000 per year in annual household income used the Internet, compared to 73% today. In 2002, 69% of all U.S. adults used the Internet, compared to 87% in 2013.

Nielsen and CBS began a trial to “measure cross-media campaigns on local TV and radio.” The trial is part of an effort to provide more useful analytics to advertisers seeking to develop more effective and measurable cross-media advertising strategies that “address day-to-day and week-to-week reach” and deliver messaging to consumers close to their purchases and actions.

T-Mobile released its Q3 earnings report in which it stated that it has doubled the amount of spectrum used by its LTE networks in 40 of the top 50 U.S. metro markets. The company also plans to upgrade to 40 MHz networks in 22 of the top 25 markets by 2014.

A Brigham Young University study of 276 young adults’ relationship communication habits found excessive amounts of texting for serious conversations to be potentially harmful to relationships. Among the report’s findings, women using text messages “to apologize, work out differences or make decisions is associated with lower relationships quality,” and for men “too frequent texting is associated with lower relationship quality.” However, for both men and women, “expressing affection via text enhances the relationship.”

Eight percent of U.S. adults get their news via Twitter, compared to 30% who get their news from Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. Twitter’s users are also “younger, more mobile and more educated” according to the report. The report surveyed 5,000 U.S. adults comprised primarily of Facebook users, who made up 3,268 of the survey respondents.

Time Warner Cable released a report last month advocating for the need for the FCC to free up unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi.

Apple released its government request report showing law enforcement officials requested info on 2,000 to 3,000 accounts between January and June of this year.

Media and Technology Stats and Studies – October 21, 2013

UCLA’s Ralph Bunche Center for African American studies released a diversity study of “more than 1,000 television shows that aired on 67 cable and broadcast networks during the 2011-12 season.” The report found that cable TV shows with casts that are 31 to 40% minority had the highest median ratings, compared to the lowest ranked cable shows, whose casts were 10% minority or less. The report also showed lower ratings for cable shows whose writing staffs are 10% minority or less. Last week, Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live blamed SNL‘s lack of diversity, particularly among its female cast members, on a weak talent pool, stating, “in auditions they just never find [female comedians of color] that are ready.” Paradoxically, while the UCLA study found ratings were highest for broadcast TV shows that were 41 to 50% minority – and ratings declined significantly for shows that were 10% minority or lessSNL‘s recent season premiere garnered a 2.4 rating/10 share among adults 18-49, or 6.5 million viewers overall – its best debut since 2010. Thompson is one of three minority comedians on SNL‘s 16-member cast.

A joint report authored by the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) found a 5 percentage point increase – to 38% – in the number of people of color working as full-time employees in cable telecommunications companies.  However, the percentage of executives and senior level managers declined by 4 percentage points to 15% since 2011. The number of entry level and mid-level managers who are people of color increased by 2 percentage points to 26%. Importantly, “turnover rates at management  levels are higher for people of color, most notably at the first manager level where the turnover rate for employees of color is 12.7% versus 9.8% for white employees.” Women are represented as full-time employees in cable telecommunications companies at a rate that is 5 percentage points lower (34%) than it was in 2003. Their participation rate as senior level managers increased by a meager 1 percentage point since 2003. Further, “the turnover rate at the first manager level is higher for women (12%) than men (9.7%), as are turnover rates at non-management levels.”

Verizon reported that it added 1.1 million new retail connections in the third quarter, 84% of which (927,000) were for contract subscribers. Smartphones now comprise 67% of Verizon’s subscriptions. The company also added 173,000 FiOS internet connections.

Google spent $2.3 billion on infrastructure in the third quarter, 50 percent more than it spent on infrastructure last quarter and three times the amount it spent on infrastructure during the third quarter of 2012. Google’s profits were up 36%, driven largely by paid click advertising. Google also reported during its earnings call that 40% of YouTube’s traffic is now mobile, up from 25% in 2012.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) reported to the Senate Judiciary Committee that it approves 99% of wiretap applications submitted to it by the executive branch.

In a new report entitled 12 Trends Shaping Digital News, Pew reported that 71% of young people ages 18-29 use the internet as their primary news source, compared to 63% of adults 30-49, 38% of adults ages 50-64 and just 18% of adults 65+. In addition, young people were more likely to graze the news at different times throughout the day, rather than watch the news or read the newspaper at a fixed time each day, as older Americans did at a higher rate. Pew also analyzed Nielsen data and found that, while broadcast news yields a higher audience, viewers of cable news channels are more loyal in that they spend more time watching cable news.

Nielsen reported that broadcast series audiences are boosted by DVRs at a much higher rate than they were last year. “Twelve network series gained at least 4 million viewers between their original air dates and seven days later,” compared to just two shows showing the same results a year ago.

According to a new report released by WorldatWork, companies like HP, Best Buy and Yahoo!, that have canceled their telework programs, are the exception not the rule. Eighty-eight percent of employers still offer telework in some form, according to the study.

Minority Americans Focus on Climate Change at Department of Energy Event

From people of color recovering from Superstorm Sandy to Native Americans from Colorado coping with flooding from historic rainfall, environmental advocates brought the story of how climate change is a pressing health and wealth issue in their communities to the United States Department of Energy (DoE) headquarters this week.

Ann Marie Chishilly, Executive Director of Tribal Environmental Professionals, and Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, were among eight participants in a climate change session moderated by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Energy and Environment Program Director Danielle Deane. The panel was part of the DOE’s Minorities in Energy kickoff and its Hispanic Heritage Month celebration on Tuesday, September 24.

Some of the brightest minds in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, climate change and energy-related economic development attended the event, which was aimed at increasing minority involvement in the energy sector. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz was joined by the nation’s first African American Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), University of Maryland professor Dr. S. James Gates and other high-profile participants at the opening session.

Climate leaders meet at the DoE's Minorities in Energy kick-off.

Climate leaders meet at the DoE’s Minorities in Energy kick-off.

During the climate change panel, EnerGreen Capital Management Founder and Managing Partner Carolyn Green, a member of the Joint Center’s Commission to Engage African Americans on Energy, Climate Change and the Environment, shared the need for minorities to be able to tap into expanding green energy business opportunities not just as employees, but as owners. Entrepreneur Moses Boyd, a Founding Partner with Integrated Solutions Group, agreed, highlighting how business opportunities can unite partners of different political leanings.

Emerald Cities Collaborative Program Manager Veronica Soto said that her organization has been helping people of color in Southern California to work with smaller, minority contractors and enable those contractors to compete successfully for energy efficiency projects. Dr. Manik “Nikki” Roy, Vice President for Strategic Outreach at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, also stressed the importance of finding models that deliver both economic and climate change benefits for low income communities.

During the event, Department of Energy officials shared their commitment to identify and work with current minority leaders to mentor mid-career emerging energy leaders as part of the Minorities in Energy initiative. An event at the White House in November will build on this kick-off.

The discussion gave representatives from the DoE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) an opportunity to hear suggestions for greater impact. Ideas from the discussion included deepening the engagement with communities of color by engaging grassroots organizations, as well as looking for common ground with business-oriented leaders who may be climate change skeptics but might be open to the idea of advancing business goals through technology advancements that cut costs and create jobs while helping the environment.

Media and Technology Stats and Studies – April 22, 2013

A Horowitz Associates report found that, while Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans are as likely as their White counterparts to have access to over-the-top (OTT) platforms – such as Netflix, Roku, and Hulu – they are more likely to use them regularly to watch video content. Half of Black (49%) and Hispanic (53%) consumers watch OTT content at least weekly, as do almost two-thirds (61%) of Asians. In contrast, 39% of White consumers watch OTT content on at least a weekly basis.

The results of a Zogby Analytics poll of 1,000 adults revealed that, among all internet privacy-related issues, just 4% of respondents were concerned about cyber-bullying. Paradoxically, a 2011 Ohio State University study found that African American and Hispanic students who were cyber-bulllying victims showed sharper grade point average declines than other racial and ethnic groups. Thirty-nine percent of respondents to the Zogby poll were concerned about identity theft, 33% about viruses and malware, 12% about government surveillance, and 4% about targeted advertising.

An analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data conducted by Dice shows gains in women working in tech. However, most of the gains were seen in consulting jobs, rather than full-time positions. Forty-six percent of consulting jobs were awarded to women, but women comprise just 31% of the tech sector overall.Forrester Research reported a double digit gap in online TV viewing between younger and older TV viewers. Twenty-seven percent of young viewers between the ages of 18-24 watch TV online 5 or more hours per week, compared to 12% among 25-49 year olds and 9% of 35-44-year-olds. Nielsen also released a report assessing behavior among younger viewers. The Nielsen report found that, in the fourth quarter of 2012, teens watched video on mobile phones to a greater degree than any other age group surveyed, consuming 18% more video on their mobile devices than 18- to 24-year-olds and 46% more than persons ages 25-34. The Nielsen report also found that 42% of young adults are African American, Latino, or Hispanic.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau reported a 111% spike in mobile advertising spending in 2012. Advertisers spent $3.4 billion on mobile advertising last year.

A Nielsen/Newspaper Association of America report found readers to be less engaged viewing local newspaper websites on their mobile phones than they were viewing national news websites. Just 8% of respondents viewed a local newspaper website on their mobile phone “today”, compared to 43% for those viewing a national newspaper website.

A Simon-Kucher and Partners study of 2,700 high-end decision-makers at international media companies predicted 90% of online content would be behind a paywall by the end of the next three years.

Viewers flocked to TV news outlets for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday. NBC reported the largest audience, with 8.8 million viewers tuning into its 10 p.m. special report.

The Center for Digital Education and National School Boards Association reported a 44% increase in the number of school districts overall that use social networks, with 74% now reporting a social media presence. Thirty-two percent of districts reported a lack of computers as the biggest obstacle to preparing for upcoming Common Core online assessments.

Amazon is gaining on Apple in music downloads. According to NPD Group, Amazon had 22% of the music download market in 2012, compared to 15% in 2008. Apple iTunes’ share slipped from 69% in 2009 to 63% in 2012.

Social media usage is declining in the U.S., according to Experian Marketing Services. In 2010, users spent 30% of their time online using social networks. That number has declined to 27%.

Verizon saw a 16% growth in profits in the first quarter of 2013.

Intel’s overall first-quarter revenues declined 2.5% to $12.6 billion compared to last year. The company’s net income dropped 25%. The earning results reinforced existing doubts about the health of the PC market.

Idea Theft and Black Unemployment

By Joseph Miller, Esq.

Black unemployment is a symptom of persistent racial discrimination and skills gaps, but competition and trade policies play a role in unemployment that policy makers too often overlook.  Information technology (IT) and intellectual property (IP) theft is a significant threat to U.S. companies’ ability to generate revenue and thereby jobs.  Earlier this week, U.S. Senators Mary L. Landrieu (D-Louisiana) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, along with a bipartisan group of 14 other committee members, wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging it to assist 36 state attorneys general in confronting the growing problem of IT and IP theft from U.S. companies by foreign manufacturers.

Some have noted that many African Americans are already grappling with a silent economic depression.  While the nation’s employment picture has slowly improved over recent months to an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent in February 2012, the unemployment rate for African-Americans still stands at 14.1 percent, which is up from 13.6 percent in January.  This is significantly higher than the Great Recession peak overall unemployment rate of 10.2% in October of 2009.

The fates of African Americans have been tied to the manufacturing sector since the end of World War II.  John Schmitt and Ben Zipperer of the Center for Economic and Policy Research have noted that manufacturing jobs “built the black middle class after World War II.”  However, between 1979 and 2007, the share of African Americans working in manufacturing fell from 23.9 percent to 9.8 percent.  During the Great Recession’s incipient stages between December 2007 and December 2009, the manufacturing sector experienced a 14.6 percent decline in employment–among 13 service sector industries, only construction experienced a steeper decline in jobs during that period. African-Americans were among those workers who were hardest hit during this period and are now under-represented in manufacturing.

Improving African-American unemployment trends will require a multi-agency effort.  The U.S. Department of Labor and other agencies have already granted a consortium of 10 universities in South Carolina and an HBCU $20 million to develop 37 new online courses in emerging jobs in manufacturing and other key sectors.  While this approach addresses skills gaps, the FTC can do its part by addressing IT and IP theft and ensuring the competitive landscape remains conducive to job growth.

Joseph Miller, Esq. is Deputy Director and Senior Policy Director of the Media and Technology Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, DC.  More information on Mr. Miller and his work can be found at the Joint Center website.