Institute of Urban Policy

The State of Black Lives in Texas Initiative

The State of Black Lives in Texas Initiative is a programmatic effort conducted by the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis (IUPRA) that produces policy research and disseminates information about racial disparities affecting the Black population in Texas. The overall IUPRA State of Black Lives in Texas Initiative consists of four main components: (1) Report Series, (2) IUPRA Poll, (3) Policy Briefs, and (4) Black Policy and Tea Event Series. IUPRA seeks to inspire, promote, and facilitate positive impacts on the state of Black lives through these deliverables.

Jump to topic: Education | Housing | Health | Criminal Justice | Income & Poverty

 

Education 

In Texas and throughout the United States, stark racial disparities exist in our education system. Black students consistently perform worse than their peers across all racial groups and are also disproportionately disciplined and punished. If we wish to achieve racial equity and believe that education forms the foundation for successful outcomes in life, it is of the utmost importance to examine how to better serve Black students in our schools. 

IUPRA’s latest State of Black Lives in Texas report lays the groundwork to do just that. This report is the first in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas.

This report takes a look at four key education issues and how current policy and realities in Texas affect Black students: discipline and punishment, charter schools, standardized testing, and the Top Ten Percent Law. The authors provide an analysis of the available data in these areas, followed by key policy recommendations and priorities.

“In Texas, Black students represent roughly 13% of the total student population but have the highest dropout rate, are most likely to be referred to special education programs, and have the lowest scores on standardized tests across all grades and all subjects.”

Read or download the report here!

Housing

Where we live matters. Our access to a quality education, a living wage, food security, and a healthy environment are often predetermined by our zip codes. Yet in Texas and throughout the United States, Black people face consistent discrimination and segregation in the housing market. We believe that segregation and housing instability are not conditions of poverty, but causes of poverty.

IUPRA’s latest State of Black Lives in Texas report uses research to prove this point. This report is the second in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas.

This report looks at the impact of the recession, housing segregation and concentrated poverty, the affordable housing crisis, homelessness, and homeownership barriers, all in regard to Black Texans. The authors provide an analysis of the available data in these areas, followed by key policy recommendations and priorities.

“Fair housing is the antidote for the poison of segregation in America.”
Wade Henderson (2018)

Read or download the report here!

Health

Good health is more than the absence of disease; it includes the state of our physical, mental, and social well-being. Many interrelated factors influence health outcomes, but race remains a significant factor in determining whether an individual receives care, the quality of that care, and in predicting health outcomes. In the United States and Texas, there are marked differences in Black health outcomes compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

IUPRA’s latest State of Black Lives in Texas report examines socio-contextual factors, including structural and institutional factors, that influence health outcomes and the policy solutions that can improve the health status of the Black population. Health equity and eliminating health disparities are achievable goals, and this report provides information to motivate partners to increase efforts to achieve them. It’s the third in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas.

This report covers many of the disparate health outcomes experienced by Black Texans, the complex drivers of health inequities operating independently and concurrently, the breadth of health disparities comparable to other race/ethnicities, and crucial programmatic strategies, interventions and policy recommendations necessary for eliminating health disparities.

Read or download the report here!

Criminal Justice

Every year, an estimated 250,000 youth under the age of 18 are prosecuted, sentenced, and incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system, with roughly 100,000 housed in adult jails and prisons. Black people have historically been overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and the same goes for Black youth at every state of the juvenile justice system. Additionally, Texas is one of only four states in the United States that define 17-year-olds as adults in terms of criminal responsibility.

IUPRA’s latest State of Black Lives in Texas report presents the current state of juvenile justice in Texas and how it negatively affects youth’s educational, psychological, and emotional development, as well as disproportionately affects Black youth and communities. It’s the fourth in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas.

This report uses a mixed methods approach to better understand the issue, from both a micro and macro perspective. Legal analysis, historical narrative, descriptive statistics, and demographic analysis all help illuminate the issue of raising the age for adult criminal responsibility in Texas.

Read or download the report here!

Income & Poverty

The “American dream” of upward social mobility is not a reality for all. While a basic flow of income is necessary to build one’s life and legacy, the Black/White income gap is ever increasing, making Black people and families more likely to live in poverty. Much of this can be explained by unemployment; due to persistent exploitation, discrimination, and segregation in this country, Black people have always been exposed to fewer and less advantageous employment opportunities, which directly affects quality of life. In Texas, Black unemployment rates are twice as high as White unemployment rates.

IUPRA’s latest State of Black Lives in Texas report examines the causes and outcomes of income inequality and unemployment for Black Texans. This report is the fifth in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas.

This report looks at the historical background of poverty, unemployment, and the wage gap in the United States and Texas, looking specifically at how it affected and continues to affect Black people; explains the major factors that currently cause more income stability for Black people; and examines data on the racial wealth gap in Texas and throughout the United States. It then gives six key policy recommendations on addressing poverty among our most vulnerable populations.

Read or download the report here!