College Graduation Rates
Among the nation’s flagship state-chartered universities, the University of Virginia has the highest Black student graduation rate at 87 percent, followed by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California at Berkeley, each with rates of 73 percent, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reports. The University of Michigan has a Black student graduation rate of 70 percent. Twelve other states have flagship universities that post a Black student graduation rate of 60 percent or higher: the state universities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Hampshire, Maryland, Florida, New York, Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, Illinois, Washington, and New Jersey. Six states and the District of Columbia have flagship state-chartered universities at which the African-American student graduation rate is 34 percent or below. In addition to the University of the District of Columbia, the states that have flagship universities with a Black student graduation rate below 34 percent are Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana and Nevada.
Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Blacks continue to have a huge distance to travel before they reach higher educational parity with white Americans. Overall, 31.8 percent of the non-Hispanic white population over the age of 25 holds a college degree compared to 18.5 percent of adult Blacks. This percentage gap has remained steady in recent years. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reports that 4.2 million African Americans alive today hold a four-year college degree.
Microfinance pioneer Accion USA opened a lending office in Savannah, Ga., where approximately 23 percent of the population lives below the poverty line—almost twice the national average. With high rates of poverty and under-employment, many local residents turn to self-employment to earn a living. Supported by grants from the City of Savannah, United Way of the Coastal Empire, SunTrust and Bank of America, the new Accion USA office will provide business loans ranging from $500 to $25,000 to self-employed individuals who do not have access to traditional sources of business credit.
Eligible borrowers range from operators of part-time, home-based enterprises to owners of hair salons, lawn-care businesses, neighborhood restaurants and specialty tour companies. Most of these “micro” entrepreneurs lack access to formal capital, due to an absence of collateral or credit history necessary to borrow from a bank.
Churches Educate on Foreclosure
The Washington-based National Black Church Initiative said it will distribute pamphlets on foreclosures at D.C.-area churches and afterward in the mid-Atlantic region. The guides will provide tips and resources to keep people from losing their homes. Written with help from the Mortgage Bankers Association and Fannie Mae, the pamphlets offer advice such as ways to refinance a loan, what questions to ask a mortgage lender when a borrower falls behind on payments and ways to get in touch with government agencies or legal help.
Addressing Health Disparities
The National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit membership organization of large employers devoted to finding solutions to health care and related benefits issues, and the federal government’s Office of Minority Health announced a joint initiative to help employers address racial and ethnic health disparities and improve the quality of health care for a culturally diverse work force. The partnership’s mission is to bring business, medicine and public health together to develop guidance and strategies for large employers to better manage issues related to racial and ethnic disparities in health care.
Black Buying Power
A report from Packaged Facts titled “The African-American Market in the U.S.” forecasts that the buying power of 39 million African-Americans will hit $1.1 trillion by 2012. It says there are 2.4 million affluent African-American households with incomes of $75,000 or more, which account for 17 percent of all African-American households but 45 percent of total African-American buying power. According to Packaged Facts Publisher Tatjana Meerman, the African-American cohort “continues to be a significant consumer segment that in some ways exercises more economic clout than the ever popular Hispanic one.” African-Americans’ purchasing behaviors can differ in many ways, ranging from what is bought at the grocery store to clothing style and magazine preferences, and marketers should pay attention to these differences to execute marketing campaigns that target the many segments of this important demographic cohort, she adds.
The Nielsen Co. says advertising spending on media outlets that reach African-American consumers totaled $2.3 billion between Oct. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2007. The 12-month analysis of ad spending targeting African-Americans, Nielson’s first, covers more than 22,000 national, regional and local advertisers, across more than 130 media vehicles. Local radio reported the greatest amount of spending on African-American targeted media at $805 million dollars, or 35 percent of total spending; national cable TV reported the largest ad growth, with 14.5 percent during the period; national magazines reported more than $600 million in spending; syndication TV reported $102.4 million dollars in ad spend for programs with a 50 percent or greater composition of African-American audiences; and network TV reported $193.3 million in African-American-targeted ad spending.
Social Security is more than half the income of two-thirds of recipients over the age of 65 during retirement, according to a report by the National Academy of Social Insurance. The report “Social Security: An Essential Asset and Insurance Protection for All,” says that among all beneficiaries 65 and older, 42 percent of single persons and 22 percent of married couples relied on Social Security for almost all (90 percent or more) of their income in 2006. Among African-Americans, the figures were 54 percent for single persons and 33 percent for married couples. Among Latinos, the figures were 62 percent for single persons and 37 percent for married couples. Among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the figures were 55 percent for single persons and 27 percent for married couples. Among Indians and Alaskan Natives, the figures were 61 percent for single persons and 25 percent for married couples.
GLOBAL NEWS - China in Africa
China’s biggest bank said it received approval to buy a 20 percent stake in South Africa’s biggest lender, the latest big-ticket overseas expansion by Chinese investors. The deal between state-owned Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Standard Bank Group Ltd. is one of China’s biggest foreign corporate acquisitions to date. China’s official Xinhua News Agency said it was worth $5.46 billion. The deal comes amid a push by communist leaders for China’s companies to expand abroad to diversify the economy. Efforts have focused on developing ties with Africa as a potential source of energy, raw materials and markets for its booming economy. ICBC’s decision in South Africa to take a minority stake instead of acquiring a bank outright was in line with a Chinese strategy of trying to avoid possible political frictions over buying assets abroad.