The Public Interest

Black economic progress since 1964

Richard B. Freeman

Summer 1978

IT has become increasingly clear that black Americans have made substantial advances in the job market since 1964. Numerous recent studies, based on diverse data sets and analytic procedures, have reported sizeable declines in the differences between blacks and whites in earnings, education, and occupational position. After decades of little or no improvement in the relative economic position of blacks, the advances of the 1960s and 1970’s represent a major social achievement and suggest that national anti-discriminatory policies have successfully altered the job market for black workers. At the same time, however, economic parity between most groups of blacks and whites has not been achieved, nor has the high incidence of poverty, unemployment, and social ills in the black community been eliminated. 



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