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Ilhan Omar's congressional district ranked the worst in America for black people

Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Ace newsman and patriot Tucker Carlson recently declared that white supremacy is a “hoax.” You might say the numbers betray his thesis.

The average black American household makes $25,000 less than the average white one, and black workers are twice as likely to be unemployed as their white brethren.

A superiority complex isn't entirely to blame. You could trace the myriad reasons all the way back to the founding of the country. But suffice to say that an expansive gap in prosperity still exists 150 years after the abolition of slavery. And it's at its worst in Minnesota's 5th congressional district, headquartered in Minneapolis.

So say the findings of the financial site 24/7 Wall Street. It used Census Bureau data to rank districts based on household income, poverty, education, home ownership, and unemployment rates. Then it adjusted the data for regional cost-of-living disparities.

As a place for black people to make a home, the 5th finished dead last.

The district, represented by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, is composed of roughly 700,000 people, including immediate suburbs like St. Louis Park, Richfield, and Fridley. Its essential stats are damning.

The black poverty rate is 37 percent, while the white comes in at 9 percent. Black unemployment is four times higher than white, 12 percent to just 4. Yet home ownership is where it really gets bad. The white rate is 63 percent. For blacks? A mere 19 percent.

None of this has much to do with Omar. She's been in Congress a mere seven months, and a single congresswoman can't achieve much unless you convince 534 other people to go along. And one of them is Mitch McConnell.

24/7 Wall Street admits as much, saying her district's troubles are “largely the legacy of historic racism. Minneapolis is one of several Midwestern cities that enacted restrictive housing covenants and exclusionary zoning policies in the early 20th century. These policies impact residential patterns to this day.”

But this is true in varying degrees in most every city. The more likely culprit is that a large percentage of the black population consists of newer refugees who can't be expected to find their economic footing as soon as they step on American shores.

The other is housing prices, which are crushing everyone of modest means, regardless of melanin. It's one reason why Minneapolis' ratio of residents of color runs more than 20 percent below St. Paul's. When you're making $25,000 less a year, you head to the town where sticker prices don't induce cardiac arrest.

The 5th isn't alone among its Midwestern cousins. The heartland took four of the worst districts for black people, including districts in Chicago, Milwaukee, and one that includes Peoria and Rockford, Illinois. Rochester, New York was the only intruder to horn in on our notoriety.  

A previous version of this article used an unrelated image of damage from the 2011 tornadoes that struck Minneapolis.