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The Statistical Need for Political Social Work

Statistical Examples of Negative & Discriminatory Outcomes in Welfare Systems

Negative Outcomes

Federal Statistics

  • 3,925,000 referrals to Child Protective Services (CPS) for maltreatment (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System [NCANDS], 2020)
  • 618,000 victims of child abuse and neglect (NCANDS, 2020)
  • Majority (77%) of the perpetrators were a parent to their victim (NCANDS, 2020)
  • Eight in every 1,000 kids under 18 were confirmed victims of maltreatment; three out of four victims experienced neglect; 72% of victims were 10 and under (AECF, 2022b)    

North Carolina Statistics 

  • 63,973 total referrals for abuse and neglect (NCANDS, 2020)
  • 22,399 victims of abuse or neglect, a 214% increase since 2016 (NCANDS, 2020)
  • State child well-being rankings: economic well-being = 31st, educational well-being = 21st, health-related well-being = 36th, family/community well-being = 34th, overall = 34th (AECF, 2022g)

Federal Statistics

  • The US has the #1 incarceration rate in the world, five times higher than most countries with comparable levels of crime (Widra & Herring, 2021)
  • One in four people who go to jail will be incarcerated again within the same year; often those dealing with poverty, mental illness (MI), and/or substance use (Sawyer & Wagner, 2021)
  • Two million people were in prisons and jails in 2021, a 500% increase over the last 40 years (Sentencing Project [SP], 2021)
  • Drug incarcerations have increased exponentially (SP, 2021)
  • 7,632,470 arrests in 2020 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency [OJJDP], 2022)
  • 424,300 total juvenile arrests in 2020 (OJJDP, 2022)     

North Carolina Statistics 

  • The NC incarceration rate is higher than all other countries in the world (Widra & Herring, 2021)
  • 48,781 incarcerated (SP, 2022)
  • 29,461 disenfranchised (SP, 2022)
  • NC was 3rd in the nation in jail/prison admissions, 5th in pretrial population, 7th in jail sentenced population, and 6th in prison population
  • The state has seen a 191% increase in total incarcerations since 1983 (Vera Institute [VI], 2019)
  • The state has seen a 40% increase in its jail population, and a 13% increase in its prison population since 2000 (VI, 2019)
  • 12,088 total arrests of children under 18 in NC (Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI], 2019)

Federal Statistics

  • In 2018, the US spent $14,400 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student at the elementary/secondary level, which is 34% higher than average Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2022)
  • Teachers (pre-primary, primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary) make less on average than other OECD countries (Education GPS, 2022)
  • The level of below upper secondary achievement among 25–34 year-olds and 25–64 year-olds was one of the lowest among OECD and partner countries with available data (Education GPS, 2022)
  • 67% of 8th graders were not proficient in math; 66% of 4th graders were not proficient in reading (AECF, 2022g)

North Carolina Statistics 

  • 32% of NC residents had a Bachelor’s degree or higher (United States Census Bureau [USCB], 2021)
  • College applications were down 20-30% since 2019 (myFutureNC, 2021)
  • K-12 enrollments were down 63,000 from 2019 to 2020 (myFutureNC, 2021)
  • Student to counselor ratio = 355:1 (recommended- 250:1) (myFutureNC, 2021)
  • 13% of NC students did not finish high school on time (myFutureNC, 2022)
  • NC averages 9,500 high school drop outs annually (myFutureNC, 2022)
  • The state has the shortest required attendance span in the US (ages 7-16) (myFutureNC, 2022)
  • One of only 15 states to allow dropouts at age 16 instead of 18 (myFutureNC, 2022)

Federal Statistics

  • Over 407,000 children and youth in foster care (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System [AFCARS], 2021)
  • The top two reasons for placements were parental neglect (64%) & parental drug abuse (35%) (AFCARS, 2021)
  • Those aging out of foster care are more likely to experience poor outcomes, including dropout, incarceration, PTSD (American Society for the Positive Care of Children [SPCC], 2022) and teen pregnancy (Courtney et al., 2005)
  • Among those ages 17-19 aging out: 20% reported homelessness, 20% reported incarceration, 10% reported giving birth or fathering a child (AECF, 2022b)
  • Among those ages 19-21 aging out: 29% reported homelessness, 20% reported incarceration, 25% reported giving birth or fathering a child, 57% reported being employed at age 21 (AECF, 2022b)        

North Carolina Statistics 

  • 15,241 total children were served (USCB, 2021)
  • 1,521 children adopted (USCB, 2021)
  • 2,835 children waiting for adoption (USCB, 2021)
  • Median length of stay: 15.1 months (USCB, 2021)

Federal Statistics

  • The US is the #1 country in world in healthcare costs (McGough et al., 2022)
  • The US spent two times as much per person on healthcare than other wealthy countries (McGough et al., 2022)
  • National healthcare expenditures totaled $4.3 trillion in 2021; 18.3% of GDP (highest in world) (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS], 2022)
  • 14% of adults ages 18-64 were uninsured (Cohen et al., 2021)
  • 5% of children were uninsured (Cohen et al., 2021)
  • 32% of children/teens (ages 10-17) were overweight or obese (AECF, 2022g)
  • Behavioral healthcare was roughly 7% of the total healthcare budget and is projected to decrease (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMSHA], 2014)
  • 21% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness (MI) (National Alliance of Mental Illness [NAMI], 2021)
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among youth ages 10-14 (NAMI, 2021)
  • 55% of people with any MI received no treatment (SAMHSA, 2021)
  • Of the 35.4 million individuals over the age of 12 with a substance use disorder, 6.5% received treatment (SAMHSA, 2021)

North Carolina Statistics 

  • 12.4% were without health insurance (USCB, 2021)
  • The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) federal benchmark of childcare affordability is 7% of a household’s income; NC averages between 18-61%, depending on the county (µ of 29%) (County Health Rankings and Roadmaps [CHRR], 2022)
  • NC is higher than the national average in premature death, obesity, lack of health insurance, preventable hospital stays, and ratio of providers (i.e., dentists, primary care physicians, mental health providers) (CHRR, 2022)
  • Nearly one in five adults had a MI (ParityTrack, 2018)
  • Over one in seven adults with a MI were uninsured (ParityTrack, 2018)
  • Nearly one in 10 youth had a MI (ParityTrack, 2018)
  • Nearly 1 in 13 youth had private insurance with no mental health coverage (ParityTrack, 2018)
  • The state received an “F” grade for mental health parity (ParityTrack, 2018)
  • 49% increase in children (ages 3-17) with anxiety or depression from 2016 (7.6%) to 2020 (11.3%) (AECF, 2022g)

Federal Statistics

  • 580,466 experienced homelessness (National Alliance to End Homelessness [NAEH], 2022)
  • Six million experienced a severe housing cost burden (more than 50% of their income toward housing) in 2020, an increase of 6% since 2007 (NAEH, 2022)
  • 30% of those experiencing homelessness were families with children; 19% were chronically homeless (NAEH, 2022)
  • The unsheltered homeless population increased 30% in last five years (NAEH, 2022)
  • 50% of unaccompanied homeless youth in 2020 were unsheltered (NAEH, 2022)
  • The national housing wage needed to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment was $25.82 per hour (Aurand et al., 2022)
  • 11 of the 25 largest occupations paid a lower hourly wage than needed to afford a one- or two-bedroom apartment (Aurand et al., 2022)
  • 70% of Americans said young adults today have a harder time buying a home than their parent’s generation (Schaeffer, 2022)
  • 46% of renters spent 30% or more of their income on housing, including 23% who spent at least 50% (Schaeffer, 2022)
  • Rent has risen 18% over the last 5 years, outpacing inflation (Schaeffer, 2022)
  • Home active listings are down ~60%; median sale prices are up ~25% (Schaeffer, 2022)        

North Carolina Statistics 

  • 9,280 homeless in the state on any given day (NAEH, 2022); 809 = family households, 798 = Veterans, 485 = unaccompanied young adults (United States Interagency Council on Homelessness [USICH], 2020)
  • 34,765 public school students experienced homelessness (USICH, 2020)
  • 34% of North Carolinians rented their housing (Aurand et al., 2022)
  • 90 = the number of hours per week a minimum wage employee needed to work to afford a one-bedroom rental (Aurand et al., 2022)
  • 106 = the number of hours per week a minimum wage employee needed to work to afford a two-bedroom rental home at fair market rent (Aurand et al., 2022)
  • $19.18 = the average hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment (Aurand et al., 2022)
  • 2.2; 2.6 = the number of full-time jobs (at minimum wage) needed to afford one- and two-bedroom apartments, respectively (Aurand et al., 2022)

Federal Statistics

  • 26% of adults had a disability (National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities [NCBDDD], 2022)
  • 50% of people with disabilities were 65 and over (Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], 2023)

North Carolina Statistics 

  • One in seven North Carolinians had a disability (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services [NCDHHS], 2018)
  • 29% of adults had a disability (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System [BRFSS], 2021a)
  • Costs: ~$25 billion per year; 36% of the state’s healthcare spending; $15,230 per person with a disability (BRFSS, 2021a)
  • Adults with disabilities more likely to be obese, smoke, have diabetes, and/or have heart disease (BRFSS, 2021a)

Federal Statistics

  • The US uses the federal poverty guideline, a formula developed in the 1960s, to determine if people are in poverty and therefore eligible for certain services (calculation = multiplying cheapest food plan by three); other basic needs as well as geography are not considered (USCB, 2022)
  • 37.9 million were in poverty, 12% of US population (Creamer et al., 2022)
  • 16% of children under age 18 were in poverty, up 2% in the last year; highest rate of any age group (Shrider et al., 2021)
  • First decrease in median income since 2011 (Shrider et al., 2021)
  • The US was in the bottom seven of OECD countries in income inequality, poverty rate, and poverty gap (OECD, 2022a)

North Carolina Statistics 

  • 13.4% were in poverty (USCB, 2021)
  • NC ranked 40th in overall poverty, 41st in child poverty, 31st in income inequality ratio, and 35th in unemployment rates (Talk Poverty [TP], 2020)
  • One in five children were in families living below the poverty line (North Carolina Community Action Association [NCCAA], 2020)
  • 23% of North Carolinians lived in food deserts (NCDHHS, 2018)

Discriminatory Outcomes

Federal Statistics

  • Black families subjected to higher rates of CPS investigations (Kim et al., 2017) and overrepresented in reports of suspected maltreatment (Krase, 2013)
  • Black and American Indian or Alaska Native children at greater risk of being confirmed for maltreatment and placed out-of-home (Yi et al., 2020)
  • Black and American Indian or Alaska Native children more likely to have their parents experience termination of parental rights (Wildeman et al., 2020) and be removed from their homes (Maguire-Jack et al., 2020)
  • Black infants two times as likely to die at birth (11 per 1,000 vs. µ of 5.8) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020)
  • Children in single parent families were 24% White, 64% Black, 52% American Indian, 24% Latino, and 39% two or more races (AECF, 2022g)

North Carolina Statistics

  • Black children were 22% of the population, yet 33% of the maltreatment victims in NC (Child Welfare Outcomes Bureau [CWOB], 2020)
  • Blacks (13.0) and American Indians (9.0) had higher rates of infant death than Whites (5.4) (NCDHHS, 2018)
  • Blacks (28.2) and American Indians (27.8) had higher rates of death in children than Whites (20.6) (NCDHHS, 2018)
  • Hispanics (46.9), American Indians (46.6), and Blacks (33.7) had higher rates of teen pregnancy than Whites (19.0) (NCDHHS, 2018)

Federal Statistics

  • One in three Black men incarcerated in their lifetime, roughly six times more likely than White men (one in 17) (SP, 2018)
  • Hispanics three times as likely to be incarcerated than Whites (SP, 2018)
  • Blacks were 27% of those arrested, which was double their population share; similar with Black youth (SP, 2018)
  • Black and Hispanic drivers three times as likely to be searched on police stops; two times as likely to be arrested on stops (SP, 2018)
  • 33% of adult Black men had a felony conviction (µ = 8% of Americans) (SP, 2018)
  • Youth of color made up 2/3s of youth detention centers (SP, 2021)      

North Carolina Statistics

  • Incarceration rates for NC per 100,000: 810 for Blacks, 209 for Whites (3.9:1 ratio) (SP, 2022)
  • Juvenile incarceration rates for NC per 100,000: 250 for Blacks, 37 for Whites (6.8:1 ratio) (SP, 2022)
  • Blacks 23% of NC population, yet 48% of jail population and 52% of prison population (VI, 2019)
  • Since 1980, number of women in jails has increased 1067%; in prisons 386% (VI, 2019)
  • Highest rates of prison admissions were in rural counties (VI, 2019)

Federal Statistics

  • Blacks accounted for 18% of preschool enrollment, yet 48% of multiple suspensions (U.S. Department of Education [USDOE], 2014b)
  • Blacks were expelled at three times the rate of Whites (USDOE, 2014b)
  • American Indian and Native-Alaskans less than 1% of students, yet 3% of expulsions (USDOE, 2014b)
  • Black girls were suspended at higher rates than all other girls and most boys (USDOE, 2014b)
  • Black boys were suspended and expelled three times more than their enrollment (USDOE, 2022a)
  • Blacks and Latinos were 40% of enrollment at schools with gifted programs, yet 26% of students in gifted programs (USDOE, 2014a)
  • Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans attended schools with higher concentrations of first-year teachers (3-4%) than Whites (1%) (USDOE, 2014a)
  • Blacks were three times as likely to attend schools where fewer than 60% of teachers met all state certification requirements (USDOE, 2014a)
  • Students of color less likely to be taught by teachers who look like them (USDOE, 2014a)
  • Teens not in school or working: 6% White, 12% American Indian, 10% Black, 8% Latino, 7% two or more races (AECF, 2022g)
  • 4th graders not proficient in reading: 56% White, 82% Black, 80% American Indian, 77% Latino, 60% two or more races (AECF, 2022g)
  • 8th graders not proficient in math: 57% White, 87% Black, 85% American Indian, 81% Latino, 64% two or more races (AECF, 2022g)
  • Children in families where head of household lacks high school diploma: 5% White, 29% Latino, 17% American Indian, 11% Black, 11% two or more races (AECF, 2022g)
  • High schoolers not graduating on time: 11% White, 26% American Indian, 20% Black, 18% Latino (AECF, 2022g)

North Carolina Statistics

  • Whites significantly over-represented in the teaching force; remaining racial groups all under-represented (Triplett & Ford, 2019)
  • All groups of color more likely to be taught by novice teachers than Whites (Triplett & Ford, 2019)
  • Asians and Whites over-represented in honors course-taking, while American Indian, Black, Hispanic, and Multiracial students under-represented (Triplett & Ford, 2019)
  • Proportions of students of color identifying as gifted for various subjects were less than half of their representation in overall student populations (Triplett & Ford, 2019)
  • Blacks three times more likely to receive out of school suspensions than Whites (Triplett & Ford, 2019)
  • Blacks received longer suspensions than all other groups (Triplett & Ford, 2019)
  • Asians and Whites scored significantly higher on ACT/SAT than students of color (Triplett & Ford, 2019)
  • Hispanic students aspiring to four-year colleges were significantly lower than all other groups (Triplett & Ford, 2019)
  • Of 9,147 high school dropouts, 53% were Black and Hispanic (44% of population) (myFutureNC, 2022)

Federal Statistics

  • Black children were roughly 14% of the child population (AECF, 2022a), yet 23% of the foster care population (AECF, 2022c)
  • White children were half of the child population (AECF, 2022a), yet 44% of foster care population (AECF, 2022c)
  • Black children spent more time in foster care (United States Government Accountability Office [USGAO], 2007), were less likely to reunify with their families (Lu et al., 2004), and were less likely to receive services (Garcia et al., 2016) than White children
  • Among American Indian youth (19-21) aging out, 43% reported experiencing homelessness (µ = 29%) (AECF, 2022b)

North Carolina Statistics

  • American Indian, Black, and children of more than one race disproportionally represented in the state’s child welfare system (DePasquale, 2020).
  • In 2020, of the children in foster care, Asian, Black, and Hispanic children all were more likely than Whites to have more than 2 placements (AECF, 2022d)

Federal Statistics

  • Hispanics (31%) and Blacks (15%) were more likely than Whites (9%) to be uninsured (Cohen et al., 2021)
  • Treatment rates among those with MI: Whites = 52%, Blacks = 37%, Hispanics = 35% (NAMI, 2021)
  • Blacks and Hispanics fared worse than Whites on the overwhelming majority of the 61 outcome measures related to health care (e.g., health coverage, access, & use; health status, outcomes, & behaviors; social determinants of health) (Hill et al., 2022)
  • Children without health insurance: Whites = 4%, American Indians = 13%, Latinos = 8%, Blacks = 4% (AECF, 2022g)
  • Child and teen deaths per 100,000: Whites = 25, Blacks = 49, American Indians = 31, Latinos = 24 (AECF, 2022g)
  • Teen births per 1,000: Whites = 10, Blacks = 25, Latinos = 23, American Indians = 19, two or more races = 15 (AECF, 2022g)
  • Children and teens (10-17) overweight or obese: Whites = 27%, Blacks = 42%, Latinos = 40% (AECF, 2022g)   

North Carolina Statistics

  • Hispanics (41%), Blacks (39%), and American Indians (36%) had higher rates of late (or no) prenatal care (µ = 32%) (NCDHHS, 2018)
  • American Indians, Blacks, and Hispanics less likely to have health insurance and access to doctors (NCDHHS, 2018)
  • Black and Hispanic children less likely to have health insurance (NCDHHS, 2018)
  • Blacks had higher rates of cancer mortality; American Indians and Blacks had higher rates of heart disease mortality and homicide; American Indians, Blacks, and Hispanics had higher rates of HIV & Chlamydia (NCDHHS, 2018)
  • Adults and children from all racial minority groups less likely to have a usual place of care (NCDHHS, 2018)
  • Blacks and Hispanics less likely to have seen a dentist in the last year (NCDHHS, 2018)
  • Whites had higher rates of opiate use and suicide (NCDHHS, 2018)

Federal Statistics 

  • Out of every 10,000 people, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders have the highest rates of homelessness (109); Blacks (52) and Native Americans (45) also have much higher homelessness rates than the general population (18) (NAEH, 2022)
  • Blacks 13% of the population, yet 39% of those experiencing homelessness and 50% of homeless families with children (NAEH, 2022)
  • Over 37,000 homeless Veterans (NAEH, 2022)
  • People of color more likely to report discrimination when attempting to rent or buy: Whites = 5%, Blacks = 45%, Latinos = 31% (Solomon et al., 2019; National Public Radio [NPR] et al., 2018)
  • Homeownership rates: Whites = 72%, Blacks = 42% (Choi, 2020)
  • Households with a FICO credit score above 700: Whites = 50%, Blacks = 21% (Choi, 2020)
  • Children in households with high housing cost burden: Whites = 22%, Blacks = 44%, Latinos = 40%, Asians and Pacific Islanders = 30%, American Indians = 29% (AECF, 2022g)
  • Renters as heads of households: Whites = 26%, Blacks = 57%, Hispanics or Latinos = 52% (Schaeffer, 2022)

North Carolina Statistics

  • Blacks 19% of the population, yet 37% of those experiencing homelessness and 45% of families experiencing homelessness (North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness [NCCEH], 2020)
  • 42% of fair housing discrimination complaints were related to race, 37% to disability, 18% to national origin, and 12% to sexual orientation (Fair Housing North Carolina [FHNC], 2019)

Federal Statistics

  • 2.8 million enforcement encounters at the southern and northern borders in FY 2022, an increase from 2 million in FY 2021 and 647,000 in FY 2020 (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)
  • 2.4 million enforcement encounters at the US-Mexico border; highest number on record (previous high = 1.6 million in FY 2000) (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)
  • 561,000 enforcement encounters with family units (children and adults travelling as families) in FY 2022, up from 480,000 in FY 2021; 152,000 encounters with unaccompanied minors in FY 2022, up from 147,000 in FY 2021 (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)
  • Immigrants less likely to graduate from high school and attend or graduate college (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)
  • Immigrant households had lower median incomes than US-born households (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)
  • More immigrants were in poverty (14%) than US-born (13%) (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)
  • 58% of immigrants had private health insurance compared to 69% of US-born (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)
  • 20% of immigrants had no health insurance compared to 8% of US-born (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)
  • 45% of the 17.8 million children of immigrants were in low-income families compared to
  • 35% for children of US-born parents (Esterline & Batalova, 2022)

North Carolina Statistics

  • In 2018, 8% of the population were immigrants (American Immigration Council [AIC], 2020)
  • 29% had less than a high school diploma (10% of US-born); 17% had some college (33% US-born) (AIC, 2020)
  • In 2016, 325,000 undocumented immigrants made up 39% of the immigrant population (3% of total population) (AIC, 2020)
  • Immigrant households paid $7 billion in taxes in 2018 (undocumented immigrants paid ~$640 million in taxes in 2018) (AIC, 2020)
  • Immigrants added roughly $20 billion to NC’s economy (AIC, 2020)
  • 12% of NC business owners were immigrants (AIC, 2020)
  • One in nine North Carolinians were immigrant workers (11% of labor force) (AIC, 2020)
  • Immigrant parents to children ages 0-10 were five times more likely to lack a high school diploma or an equivalent (Hofstetter & McHugh, 2021)
  • Roughly 60% of immigrant parents to children ages 0-10 were low income (40% native-born parents); 36% of immigrants were working poor vs. 24% of UC-born (Hofstetter & McHugh, 2021)
  • 58% of immigrant parents to children ages 0-10 worked in low-skilled jobs (µ = 37% for native-born parents) (Hofstetter & McHugh, 2021)
  • 29% of immigrant parents to children ages 0-10 did not have access to a computer in the household (µ = 15% of native-born parents) (Hofstetter & McHugh, 2021)

Federal Statistics

  • LGBTQ+ young adults were twice as likely to experience homelessness compared to their cisgender peers (Morton et al., 2018)
  • Nearly one in four Black men (18 to 25) who identified as LGBTQ reported explicit homelessness in the last year (Morton et al., 2018)
  • Compared to their heterosexual peers, LGB students were more likely to be bullied (33% vs. 16%), consider suicide (48% vs. 13%), feel sad or hopeless (63% vs. 28%), use illicit drugs (23% vs. 12%), be forced to have sex (22% vs. 5%), and misuse opiates (24% vs. 13%) (CDC, 2019)
  • When compared to cisgender students, transgender students were more likely to report substance use, suicide risk, sexual risk, and violence victimization (CDC, 2019)
  • One in three LGBTQ people reported experiencing discrimination (62% of transgender individuals) (People of color = 43%, Whites = 31%) (Gruberg et al., 2020)
  • 57% of LGBT employees who experienced discrimination or harassment at work reported that unfair treatment was motivated by religious beliefs (UCLA Williams Institute, 2021)
  • 40% of transgender adults attempted suicide in their lifetime, almost 9 times the rate of the general population (4.6%) (James et al., 2016)
  • 7% of transgender adults attempted suicide in the past year, 12 times the rate of the general population (0.6%) (James et al., 2016)
  • 45% of LGBTQ youth considered suicide in 2021; 14% attempted (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • 60% of LGBTQ youth who wanted health care were unable to get it (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • 36% of LGBTQ youth reported being physically threatened or harmed due to sexual orientation/gender identity (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • 73% of LGBTQ youth reported anxiety; 58% reported symptoms of depression (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • 93% of transgender and nonbinary youth worried about denied access to gender-affirming medical care (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • 91% of transgender and nonbinary youth worried about denied access to bathrooms (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • 83% of transgender and nonbinary youth worried about denied access to sports (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • 73% of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing discrimination based on their sexual orientation/gender identity at least once in their lifetime (The Trevor Project, 2022)
  • 17% of LGBTQ youth reported being threatened with or subjected to conversion therapy (The Trevor Project, 2022)

North Carolina Statistics

  • NC home to ~382,000 LGBTQ individuals (Campaign for Southern Equality [CSE], 2021)
  • Roughly 29% rated their quality of medical care as fair or poor, 11% said they rarely or never felt comfortable seeking medical care, and only half felt that their health care needs were being met (CSE, 2021)
  • Trans (36%), Black LGB (43%), and Black trans (55%) people worried about losing their health care coverage; Black LGB and trans individuals more likely to delay seeking medical care (B-LGB: 50%, T: 52%) (CSE, 2021)
  • LGBTQ people were more likely to report experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, PTSD, and self-harming behaviors (all higher for Black and trans respondents) (CSE, 2021)
  • 20% reported experiencing physical violence or abuse, and 71% reported experiencing emotional abuse or harassment due to their identity (all higher for Black LBG and trans respondents) (CSE, 2021)
  • Compared to non-LGBT individuals, LGBT individuals were more likely to be unemployed (8% vs. 6%), uninsured (21% vs. 14%), food insecure (29% vs. 16%), and have median incomes of less than $24,000 (30% vs. 22%) (UCLA Williams Institute, 2019)
  • 12% of LGBTQ White youth attempted suicide in 2021 compared to 21% of Native/Indigenous youth, 20% of Middle Eastern/Northern African youth, 19% of Black youth, 17% of Multiracial youth, and 16% of Latinx youth (The Trevor Project, 2022)

Federal Statistics

  • One in three adults with disabilities did not have a health care provider and/or had an unmet healthcare need due to cost (NCBDDD, 2022)
  • Across all age groups, people with disabilities were over twice as likely to be unemployed on average (BLS, 2023)
  • People with disabilities were less likely to have a bachelor’s degree (BLS, 2023)
  • People with disabilities were two times as likely to be living in poverty, have less than a high school education, and be in the labor force but looking for work than those without disability (Stevens et al., 2016)
  • Minorities with disabilities were more likely than Whites with disabilities to have diabetes, worsening health, depressive symptoms, stroke, visual impairment, difficulty with activities of daily living, obesity, physical activity and low workforce participation (Jones & Sinclair, 2011)
  • Boys with disabilities were disproportionately suspended and expelled; Black students with disabilities under IDEA were disproportionately suspended and expelled (USDOE, 2022b)          

North Carolina Statistics

  • American Indians (17%) and Blacks (15%) were more likely to have a disability than Whites (14%) (NCDHHS, 2018)

Federal Statistics

  • 8% of Whites were in poverty compared to 20% of Blacks and 17% of Hispanics (Shrider et al., 2021)
  • Median household incomes in 2020: Whites = $74,912, Hispanics = $55,321, Blacks = $45,870 (Shrider et al., 2021)
  • Black and American Indian or Alaska Native children were three times more likely than Whites to live in poverty (AECF, 2022f)
  • Children in poverty: Whites = 11%, Blacks = 32%, American Indians = 31%, Latinos = 25%, two or more races = 18% (AECF, 2022g)
  • Children in high poverty areas: Whites = 3%, American Indians = 24%, Blacks = 22%, Latinos = 13% (AECF, 2022g)
  • Children with parents lacking secure employment: Whites = 21%, American Indians = 44%, Blacks = 41%, Latinos = 31%, two or more races = 30% (AECF, 2022g)

North Carolina Statistics

  • Poverty rates in rural areas were 4% higher than urban areas (NCCAA, 2020)
  • 75% of individuals in poverty were either Latino, Native American, or African American (White = 12%) (NCCAA, 2020)
  • 16% of women were in poverty (13% of men) (NCCAA, 2020)
  • Blacks were 19% of the population, yet 31% of those experiencing poverty (NCCEH, 2020)
  • Children in poverty in NC by race: White = 10%, Black = 32%, Hispanic/Latino-30% (AECF, 2022e)
  • American Indians, Blacks, and Hispanics made less money ($55,000 vs. roughly $36,000), were less likely to be employed (rates = 6.1, 5.4, 4.4 vs. 3.0 respectively), and were less likely to own a home than Whites (NCDHHS, 2018)

Federal Statistics

  • The number of women in political office was far below average when compared to other OECD countries (OECD, 2022)
  • Women paid 84¢ to the man’s dollar; wage gap far larger for women of color (National Women’s Law Center [NWLC], 2022a)
  • Median earnings in 2020: men = $61,417, women = $50,982 (Shrider et al., 2021)
  • Average earnings for women (25-64) with upper secondary or tertiary degrees one of the lowest among OECD countries (Education GPS, 2022)
  • The US is the only country in the world to not provide any kind of paid leave to new parents (Livingston & Thomas, 2019; OECD, 2022b)
  • US was 30th out of 33 OECD countries in spending on families and children (OECD, 2022b)
  • US was 29th out of 31 countries for percentage of children enrolled in childcare (ages 3-5) (Ansel & Markezich, 2017)
  • No gender gap in math test scores existed in kindergarten; gap of 0.25 standard deviations developed by 2nd/3rd grade (Robinson & Lubienski, 2011)
  • When faced with a boy and a girl of the same race and SES who performed equally well on math tests and whom the teacher rated equally well in behaving and engaging, the teacher rated the boy as more mathematically able (Robinson-Cimpian et al., 2014)
  • Women reported higher prevalence of any disability and of each disability type (Okoro et al., 2018)          

North Carolina Statistics

  • White women made 86¢ to the man’s dollar; Blacks: 64¢, Native American women: 61¢, Latinas: 50¢ (NWLC, 2022b)
  • The state received a “D” on Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s health and well-being index (Shaw & Mariano, 2022)
  • NC was 44th in the nation on share of women with health insurance (Shaw & Mariano, 2022)
  • NC was 38th in country on share of women in poverty (14%); Whites = 11%, over 20% for Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans (Shaw & Mariano, 2022)
  • If women were paid equal to men in NC, their poverty rate would drop 38% (Shaw & Mariano, 2022)
  • 35% of women in NC experienced intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence (NCDOA, 2019)
  • NC had the 10th highest rate of reported STI diagnoses (NCDOA, 2019)

2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. (2021a). Disability & health U.S. state profile data for North Carolina (adults 18+ years of age). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System. (2021). The AFCARS report. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau.

American Immigration Council. (2020). Immigrants in North Carolina.

American Society for the Positive Care of Children. (2022). Get the facts: Foster care & adoption.

Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF). (2022a). Child population by race in the United States.

AECF. (2022b). Child welfare and foster statistics.  

AECF. (2022c). Children in foster care by race and Hispanic origin in the United States.,1729,37,871,870,573,869,36,868,867/2638,2601,2600,2598,2603,2597,2602,1353/12992,12993

AECF. (2022d). Children in foster care with more than two placements by race and Hispanic origin in North Carolina.,1729,37,871,870,573,869,36,868,867/2638,2601,2600,2598,2603,2597,2602,1353/17682,17683

AECF. (2022e). Children in poverty by race and ethnicity in North Carolina.,37,871,870,573,869,36,868,867,133/10,11,9,12,1,185,13/324,323 

AECF. (2022f). Children in poverty by race and ethnicity in the United States.

AECF. (2022g). State trends in child well-being: Appendix B, economic well-being indicators, 2022.

Ansel, B., & Markezich, M. (2017). Falling behind the rest of the world: Childcare in the United States. Washington Center for Equitable Growth.     behind-the-rest-of-the-world-childcare-in-the-united-states/

Aurand, A., Clarke, E., Emmanuel, D., Foley, E., Rafi, I., & Yentel, D. (2022). Out of Reach:      The high cost of housing. National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023). Persons with a disability: Labor force characteristics-2022. U.S. Department of Labor.

Campaign for Southern Equality. (2021). The report of the 2019 southern LGBTQ health survey: State spotlight: North Carolina.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020). Health of Black or African American non-Hispanic population.

CDC. (2019). Health disparities among LBGTQ youth.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2022). National health expenditure fact sheet [Fact sheet].

Child Welfare Outcomes Bureau. (2020). North Carolina.

Choi, J. H. (2020). Breaking down the black-white homeownership gap. Urban Institute (UI).

Cohen, R. A., Martinez, M. E., Cha, A. E., & Terlizzi, E. P. (2021). Health insurance coverage: Early release of estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, January–June 2021. National Center for Health Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. (2022). 2022 North Carolina report. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  

Creamer, J., Shrider, E. A., Burns, K., & Chen, F. (2022). Poverty in the United States: 2021. United States Census Bureau.

DePasquale, Sara. (2020). The child welfare system and race.

Education GPS. (2022). United States: Overview of the education system. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Esterline, C., & Batalova, J. (2022). Frequently requested statistics on immigrants and immigration in the United States. Migration Policy Institute.

Fair Housing North Carolina. (2019). The state of fair housing in North Carolina: 2019. 

Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2019). Crime in the United States 2019: Arrests by state, 2019.

Garcia, A. R., Kim, M., & DeNard, C. (2016). Context matters: The state of racial disparities in mental health services among youth reported to child welfare in 1999 and 2009. Children and Youth Services Review, 66, 101–108.

Gruberg, S., Mahowald, L., & Halpin, J. The state of the LGBTQ community in 2020:

A national public opinion study. Center for American Progress.

Hill, L., Artiga, S., & Haldar, S. (2022). Key facts on health and health care by race and ethnicity. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Hofstetter, J., & McHugh, M. (2021). North Carolina’s immigrant and U.S.-born parents of young and elementary-school-age children: Key sociodemographic characteristics. Migration Policy Institute.

James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The report of the 2015 U.S. transgender survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.

Jones, G. C., & Sinclair, L. B. (2008). Multiple health disparities among minority adults with mobility limitations: An application of the ICF framework and codes. Disability and Rehabilitation, 30(12‐13), 901‐15.

Kim, H., Wildeman, C., Jonson-Reid, M., & Drake, B. (2017). Lifetime prevalence of investigating child maltreatment among US children. American Journal of Public Health, 107, 274–280.

Krase, K. S. (2013). Differences in racially disproportionate reporting of child maltreatment across report sources. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 7, 351–369.

Livingston, G., & Thomas, D. (2019). Among 41 countries, only U.S. lacks paid parental leave. Pew Research Center.

Lu, Y. E., Landsverk, J., Ellis-Macleod, E., Newton, R., Ganger, W., & Johnson, I. (2004). Race, ethnicity, and case outcomes in child protective services. Children and Youth Services Review, 26, 447–461.

Maguire-Jack, K., Font, S. A., & Dillard, R. (2020). Child protective services decision-making: The role of children's race and county factors. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90, 48–62.

McGough, M., Telesford, I., Rakshit, S., Wager, E., Amin, K., & Cox, C. (2022). How does health spending in the U.S. compare to other countries? Peterson Center on Healthcare and Kaiser Family Foundation (Peterson-KFF).

Morton, M. H., Samuels, G. M., Dworsky, A., & Patel, S. (2018). Missed opportunities: LGBTQ youth homelessness in America. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.

myFutureNC. (2021). 2021 educational attainment report.

myFutureNC. (2022). 2022 educational attainment report. 

National Alliance of Mental Illness. (2022). Mental health by the numbers.

National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2022). State of homelessness: 2022 edition.  

National Center for Education Statistics. (2022). Education expenditures by country. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. (2022). Disability impacts all of us [Fact sheet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. (2020). Child maltreatment 2020. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau.

National Public Radio, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2018). Discrimination in America: Final summary.

National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). (2022a). Equal pay and the wage gap.

NWLC. (2022b). The wage gap, state by state.

North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness. (2020). Evaluating racial disparities in the North Carolina balance of state CoC.

North Carolina Community Action Association. (2020). Poverty in America: How does North Carolina stack up?

North Carolina Department of Administration. (2019). Status of women in NC: Health and wellbeing.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). Racial and ethnic health disparities in North Carolina: North Carolina health equity report 2018. Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2022). Statistical briefing book: Estimated number of arrests by offense and race, 2020. 

Okoro, C. A., Hollis, N. D., Cyrus, A. C., & Griffin-Blake, S.  (2016). Prevalence of disabilities and health care access by disability status and type among adults — United States, 2016. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep, 67, 882–887.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (2022a). OECD data indicators.

OECD (2022b). OECD family database: Parental leave systems. 

ParityTrack. (2018). Evaluating state mental health and addiction parity statutes: State report care, North Carolina.

Robinson-Cimpian, J.P., Lubienski, S.T., Ganley, C.M., & Copur-Gencturk, Y. (2014). Teachers' perceptions of students' mathematics proficiency may exacerbate early gender gaps in achievement. Developmental psychology, 50(4), 1262-81.

Robinson, J. P., & Lubienski, S. (2011). The development of gender achievement gaps in mathematics and reading during elementary and middle school: Examining direct cognitive assessments and teacher ratings. American Educational Research Journal, 48(2), 268-302. 

Sawyer, W., & Wagner, P. (2021). Mass incarceration: The whole pie 2022. Prison Policy Initiative.

Schaeffer, K. (2022). Key facts about housing affordability in the U.S. Pew Research Center.

Sentencing Project (SP). (2018). Report to the United Nations on racial disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system.

  1. (2022). State-by-state data.
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Shaw., E., & Tesfaselassie, A. (2022). Status of women in NC: Poverty and opportunity. North Carolina Department of Administration.

Shrider, E. A., Kollar, M., Chen, F., & Semega, J. (2021). Income and poverty in the United States: 2020. United States Census Bureau.

Solomon, D., Maxwell, C., & Castro, A. (2019). Systemic inequality: Displacement, exclusion, and segregation: How America's housing system undermines wealth building in communities of color. Center for American Progress.

Stevens, Carroll, D. D., Courtney-Long, E. A., Zhang, Q. C., Sloan, M. L., Griffin-Blake, S., & Peacock, G. (2016). Adults with one or more functional disabilities — United States, 2011–2014. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(38), 1021–1025.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2021). Key substance            use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National          Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP2107-01-003, NSDUH Series H-56). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality,    SAMHSA.

SAMHSA. (2014). Projections of national expenditures for treatment of mental and substance use disorders, 2010–2020 (HHS Publication No. SMA-14-4883). Rockville, MD: SAMHSA. 

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The Trevor Project. (2022). 2022 national survey on LGBTQ youth mental health.

Triplett, N. P., & Ford, J. E. (2019). E(race)ing inequities: The state of racial equity in North Carolina public schools. Center for Racial Equity in Education.

UCLA Williams Institute. (2019). LGBT data and demographics: North Carolina.

UCLA Williams Institute. (2021). LGBT people’s experiences of workplace discrimination and harassment.

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United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. (2020) North Carolina homelessness statistics.

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Widra, E., & Herring, T. (2021). States of incarceration: The global context 2021. Prison Policy Initiative.

Wildeman, C., Edwards, F. R., & Wakefield, S. (2020). The cumulative prevalence of termination of parental rights for U.S. children, 2000-2016. Child Maltreatment, 25, 32–42.

Wilson, V. (2020). Racial disparities in income and poverty remain largely unchanged amid strong income growth in 2019. Economic Policy Institute. 

Yi, Y., Edwards, F. R., & Wildeman, C. (2020). Cumulative prevalence of confirmed       maltreatment and foster care placements for US children by race/ethnicity, 2011-2016. American Journal of Public Health, 110, 704–709.

Contact the Political Social Work Initiative

David L. Conley, PhD, MSW | Assistant Professor