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Neighborhoods Where Black Men Are Missing

Ratios of black men to black women serve as proxy for mass incarceration and other socioeconomic issues.

Comparing numbers of black men and black women provides clues for a range of issues that may be afflicting a community. Some researchers use ratios of black men to women as a proxy for mass incarceration. Relatively high mortality and men not being connected with social services further contribute to gender imbalances.

Census Bureau estimates suggest there are 88 black male adults for every 100 black women, but disparities are much greater in individual neighborhoods. Governing compared the black male population age 18-64 with that of black women of the same age group using the Census Bureau's 2013-2017 American Community Survey estimates for Census tracts, which correspond to neighborhoods. There were a median of only 81 black men age 18-64 for every 100 women in tracts with at least 2,000 black adults. And in several predominately black communities, there were as few as about half as many black men as women.

The following map shows black men as a percentage of black women ages 18 to 64. Data is shown for tracts with large black populations for this age range exceeding 2,000. Areas shaded dark gray have more than twice as many black male adults as black females and generally contain either large correctional facilities or military installations.

Tract Black Men % of Black Women Age 18-64
< 50%
> 150%
Over 2x more (typically prisons or military)

Data not shown for areas with fewer than 2,000 blacks age 18-64 per tract.

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SOURCE: Governing calculations of 2017 five-year U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data for tracts with at least 2,000 black adults

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