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Black people still face challenges in economic equality, report says

WASHINGTON — African-Americans have achieved tremendous gains in education over the past 50 years, but that has yet to translate into major progress toward economic equality, the National Urban League says in its latest State of Black America report.

This year’s report, ‘‘Redeem the Dream: Jobs Rebuild America,’’ identifies unemployment as the biggest barrier to that progress.

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It also marks milestones in black history since 1963, the height of the civil rights movement.

According to the report, released Wednesday during the league’s annual legislative conference, 75 percent of black adults had not completed high school 50 years ago, compared with 15 percent of black adults today.

At the college level, there are now 3.5 times more black students aged 18-24 enrolled, and five times as many black adults with a college degree.

Overall, the standard of living for black Americans improved significantly, due mainly to better access to educational and employment opportunities, the report says.

It credits those opportunities to the passage of civil rights laws and affirmative action policies.

But there has been much less change between black people and white people on the economic ladder, with indicators such as employment, income, and home ownership.

On average, black people remain twice as likely as white people to be unemployed and earn less than two-thirds the income of white people.

For every dollar that white people earn, black people earn 60 cents, the report said.

On average, African-Americans enjoy 71.7 percent, or fewer than three-fourths, of the benefits and privileges that are offered to white Americans.

These include education, economics, health, social justice, and civic engagement.

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