The income gap between black people and white people is growing, a divide that's most stark in cities, which affluent blacks are fleeing for the suburbs, according to new census data. The average white person earned 1.7 times more than the average black person last year, the widest ratio since the 1990s, the AP reports. Since 2000, the share of black households ranking among the poorest of the poor—meaning making $15,000 or less per year—has jumped from 20% to 26%.
There has also been significant migration among the rising black middle class, with many headed to the suburbs or to upscale metropolitan areas, particularly those in the South. The black-white divide looks particularly stark in cities such as Chicago and Detroit, where mainly low-skilled minorities remain. All of which could have an impact on the 2012 election. "The Democratic party will surely gain consistent support from these new black suburbanites," says one demographer, but "support for traditional black issues … may take a back seat." (Read more income gap stories.)