South Carolina ranks 14th in the Nation in terms of its minority population. However,
South Carolina ranks sixth (only behind Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia respectively) in terms of its African American population.
African Americans comprise at least 30.4 percent of the state’s population, yet
are said to represent 94.5 percent of all minorities in the state (U.S. Census, 2008).
African Americans in the state have a 28 percent family poverty rate with 37.0 percent of children living in poverty compared to whites whose poverty rates are 5.9 percent for families and 12.0 percent for children.
This statistic does not necessarily include the working poor whose income is slightly above the poverty line, but are still suffering the effects of poverty and deprivation (U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Statistical Abstract –December 2008).
Sixty-nine percent (69%) of African American children in the state are living in single headed households. Today, nearly 70 percent of African American children born in this state are born to single mothers, with 18.3 percent to teen mothers (December 2008).
Preliminary 2008 annual average unemployment rates for South Carolina respectively, are 11.5% for African American males and 9.0% for African American females, over twice the annual average rate for White males (5.0%) and White females (5.8%). (U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 2009).
The state currently has the third highest unemployment rate in the nation at 9.5%. The SC Department of Education notes that African American males enrolled in schools in South Carolina during the 2006-2007 school year account for 30.1% of all 9th through 12th
grade high school dropouts. The rate for African American females is 20.1 percent. Respective race and gender percentages for White students are 28.0% for White males and 21.8% for White females. Group dropout rates by race and gender are respectively, 60.0% for African-American males, 40% for African-American females, 56.3% for White males, and 43.7% for White females
– (SC Department of Education, Report on Student Dropout Rates, January 2009).
In 2007, 44.6 percent of African American males and 33.4 percent of African American females failed at least one (one or both) parts of the 10th grade exit HSAP exam. (SC Kids Count Report
African Americans in the state have a significantly higher infant mortality rate than whites and are almost twice as likely to have babies with low birth weight. As of June 30, 2008, African American males account for 62.4% or 15,638 of the 25,066 inmates in Department of Corrections Facilities statewide. However, African American males between the ages of 17 and 44 years of age accounted for 82.0% or 12,823 of the 15,638 African-American male incarcerated adults in SC Department of Corrections facilities.