Thursday 2 February 2023
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ACT Rochester, RACF Report Finds Educational and Economic Gaps for Blacks and Latinos in Rochester

By Staff –


lRace report final cover-1ACT Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation have recently released a report documenting how the status of African Americans and Latinos in the entire nine-county Rochester region significantly lags behind their counterparts in New York state, and the rest of the U.S.

The report, titled “Hard Facts: Race and Ethnicity in the Nine-County Greater Rochester Area,” found there are substantial gaps in educational and economic outcomes among persons of different racial and ethnic backgrounds in Rochester, based on data from U.S. Census surveys, and the New York State Department of Education’s student assessments for 2016.

“Unfortunately, these statistics have a demonstrable impact on the well-being of our neighbors in urban, suburban, and rural areas, which contributes significantly to our low median incomes and higher poverty,” Ann Johnson, senior director of ACT Rochester, stated.

The report upheld the fact that Rochester’s child poverty rate for African Americans remains at 50 percent, compared to 33 percent throughout the rest of the state, and 38 percent nationwide.

In addition, the report also found that only 13 percent and 19 percent of African Americans and Latinos in Rochester, respectively, have reached proficiency on NYSED’s Grade 3 English Language Arts Exam, compared to 31 percent and 30 percent of African Americans and Latinos correspondingly throughout the state.

Additional findings from the report include the following:

  • African-American children in our region are more than four times as likely as whites to live in poverty, and Latino children experience poverty at a rate of more than three-and-a-half times that of non-Latino white children.
  • Dramatic academic achievement gaps among racial and ethnic groups are evident at every grade level.
  • Median household incomes of African Americans in our region are less than half that of whites. For Latinos, salaries are only slightly more than half the level of non-Latino whites.
  • Both African Americans and Latinos are less than half as likely to own their homes as their white counterparts.

According to the report’s author, Ed Doherty, if local African American and Latino poverty rates mirrored those of the nation and state, it would significantly reduce the city’s poverty rate, lowering the rate by about 7 percentage points.

Rochester’s current rank as the fourth poorest city in the nation would also fall to about seventeenth, Doherty stated.

Doherty has previously authored three similar poverty reports for ACT Rochester and RACF, and the organizations have been reporting the region’s poverty data, mostly in tabular form, since 2012.

“For the health of our region and its workforce, we cannot ignore these findings,” Jennifer Leonard, president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation, stated. “In a week in which our nation has been seared by the ugliness of racism in the South, we must face the fact that our region too — once home to Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony — has systematically failed people based on their skin color or ethnicity. As we did with the poverty reports, ACT Rochester and the Community Foundation are urging awareness and action to address these deep disparities.”

The Gannett Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Fund for Smart Strategy at the Community Foundation funded the report.

Visit to view the groups’ full report.

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