economic equity and justice
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau

What does this measure?

Median household income, in 2021 dollars. Half of incomes are below the median and half are above.

Why is this important?

Median household income is a gauge of overall economic health of the region and the financial resources of households. Examining income for different racial and ethnic groups is important as a measure of inequity.

How is Norfolk County doing?

In 2017-21, the median household income in Norfolk County for African Americans, $80,970, was substantially lower than that for Hispanic ($105,600) Asian ($114,800) and white ($115,400) households. Racial/ethnic income disparities were similar at the state and national level. Since 2000, African American households experienced a 17% drop in income while incomes increased for Hispanic (20%), Asian (16%) and white (10%) households (all figures are inflation-adjusted).

African American and Hispanic households in Norfolk County had the highest median incomes compared to Essex and Middlesex Counties. Asian Americans in Norfolk County had the lowest median incomes compared to Essex and Middlesex, while white households in Norfolk has incomes on par with Middlesex and above Essex.

Sample sizes for each race/ethnicity in Brookline and comparison municipalities were too small to report reliably.

Why do these disparities exist?

These large and persistent disparities in income are the result of historic and current policies and practices that disadvantaged people of color. Research has connected slavery and the inability of black Americans even after emancipation to fully participate in economic life to the wealth and income gaps still present today. Structural racism perpetuated by policies and practices that systematically disadvantage African American and Latino communities include inequitable education, low wages, job and wage discrimination, lack of access to capital, and globalization. Even when a recovery from the current economic crisis occurs, it is not expected to make up for the pre-existing racial disparities experienced over time unless policies are enacted to address these gaps.

Notes about the data

Figures are in constant 2021 dollars. The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined 5 years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with 3 asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.

snapshot
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity, 2017-21
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Brookline$102,942*$83,674***$119,429*$130,879
Arlington, Middlesex County$144,184$71,181***$74,625***$127,813
Cambridge, Middlesex County$105,890$41,597$86,669$129,751
Everett, Middlesex County$93,361$93,559$67,939*$67,669
Newton, Middlesex County$178,389$160,990*$131,483*$164,658
Norfolk County$114,751$80,970$105,578$115,394
Essex County$121,906$63,853$52,435$93,533
Middlesex County$126,462$71,138$71,835$115,373
Massachusetts$108,555$60,232$52,106$94,510

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Figures in 2021 dollars. Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.






INDICATORS TREND
Change in Total Population 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Language Diversity 1
Increasing
Foreign-Born Population 1
Increasing
Population by Age 1
Increasing
People with Disabilities 1
Increasing
Voter Registration -1
Decreasing
Voter Participation 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Change in Total Jobs 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Living Wage 10 Not Applicable*
Median Household Income 0
Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Income in Relation to Poverty Level -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty 1
Increasing
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
People Living in Poverty by Age -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Seniors Living in Poverty 1
Increasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Access to Financial Services by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 10 Not Applicable*
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Overall Housing Cost Burden -1
Decreasing
Median Home Value 0
Maintaining
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Homeownership 1
Increasing
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Renting 1
Increasing
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP 1
Increasing
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Food Insecurity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Without Vehicles 1
Increasing
Means of Transportation to Work by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Protected Land 10 Not Applicable*
Percent of Days with Good Air Quality 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care 10 Not Applicable*
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate 10 Not Applicable*
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions 10 Not Applicable*
People 65 or Older Living Alone 1
Increasing
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Arrest Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity 0
Maintaining
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Females Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Share of Workers who are Professionals by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Business Ownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Student Performance on Grade 3 English by Student Subgroup 10 Not Applicable*
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group 10 Not Applicable*
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity 1
Increasing
Median Home Value by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Cost of Rent by Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity -1
Decreasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity 10 Not Applicable*



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