2018 State of Black America's New Digital Index Shows Potential for Communities of Color

National Urban League President: “We Must Separate the Signal from the Noise”

NEW YORK (May 4, 2018) -- The National Urban League’s annual State of Black America report, which evaluates the social and economic status of African Americans using an Equality Index, this year includes a Digital Inclusion Index that quantifies Black America’s participation in the digital revolution.

Like the Equality Index, the Digital Inclusion Index assumes a value of 100% to be full equality between white America and Black America. The 2018 Digital Inclusion Index is 74.1% and the 2018 Equality Index is 72.5%. The full report is available on www.StateOfBlackAmerica.org.

“Historically, while great industrial breakthroughs have profited our nation, African Americans have often been exploited, rather than elevated by these advancements,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “Fortunately, the digital revolution is still in its youth—and ripe with potential for Black Americans. While it has positioned itself such that the barriers of entry are few and low, the findings of the National Urban League’s 2018 Digital Inclusion Index are unambiguous: we must separate the signal from the noise.”

The Digital Inclusion Index answers the question, “Are the new job, business and educational opportunities created by increased digitization of our world being equally shared?”  It is calculated based on three values: digital skills and occupations (35%), digital access (35%) and digital policy (30%)

The report found that African Americans are far less likely than whites to be employed in social media and technology companies – less than 5% of the workforce, vs. more than 50% for whites. Less than 6% of total Black employment in 2017 was in the tech industry, vs. 8.5% for whites.

“Technology is a study in contrasts for Black America,” Morial said. “Black families continue to remain less likely than white families to have dedicated internet access at home, yet African Americans are the second-largest multicultural group, after Asian Americans, for mobile device ownership, with 91% owning smartphones. Black millennials are influential, leading users of mobile technology and platforms, and voracious consumers and creators of digital content, but lag behind in tech employment.”

The State of Black America,  the National Urban League’s seminal annual publication, has become one of the most highly-anticipated benchmarks and sources for thought leadership around racial equality in America across economics, employment, education, health, housing, criminal justice and civic participation. Each edition of the State of Black America contains thoughtful commentary and insightful analysis from leading figures and thought leaders in politics, the corporate arena, the nonprofit sector, academia and popular culture.

The website, StateOfBlackAmerica.com, is supported through a partnership with AT&T.

Since 2004, the State of Black America has included the National Equality Index, a quantitative tool for tracking racial equality in America, inspired by the Three-Fifths Compromise of the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention.

This year’s contributors of essays include:

  • Vanita Gupta, President & CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
  • Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, New York–9th District
  • Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Federal Communications Commission
  • Congressman Cedric L. Richmond, Chairman, Congressional Black Caucus; Louisiana–2nd District

Among the digital influencers offering brief commentary are:

  • Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter
  • Morgan DeBaun, Founder & CEO, Blavity
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
  • Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin
  • Jai Stone, Award-Winning Brand Strategist

“Without full, equitable inclusion into the digital economy, communities of color will continue to be forced to the fringes of every marker of well-being,” Morial said. “Therefore, the National Urban League stands on the digital horizon, poised to secure the promise of the digital future.  And there is no app for that.”


CONTACT:          Teresa Candori  

                              212-558-5362 | tcandori@nul.org


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