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Annual Reports

The State of Black America®, the National Urban League’s seminal annual publication, now in its 42nd edition, 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 State of Black America includes the National Equality Index™, a quantitative tool for tracking racial equality in America. This year’s report includes the 14th edition of the Black–White Equality Index and the ninth edition of the Hispanic–White Equality Index.


In a nod to our 21st century reality, the theme of this year’s report is Save our Cities: Powering the Digital Revolution. New to this year’s edition is the Digital Inclusion Index which benchmarks and measures the inclusion of African Americans in the digital economy. The index is built on three pillars of the digital economy: digital skills and occupations, including the percentage of STEM degrees conferred by race; digital access, including the prevalence of technology incubators targeted for minority startups; and digital policy, including smart city projects.


The National Urban League has stood at the forefront of every significant movement, societal shift and industrial revolution that have impacted our mission-driven pursuit of liberty, justice and economic empowerment for all. Today, we stand on the digital horizon poised to secure and safeguard access to the promised benefits and opportunities of emerging technology for our nation’s historically undeserved urban communities.


We also shine a well-deserved spotlight on the innovative, tech-oriented programming offered by the National Urban League’s nationwide network of affiliates. Some are retraining the workforce for the new collar jobs of the future. Some are introducing seniors to technology and middle school students to STEM/STEAM. Some are harnessing the power of social media to highlight initiatives and podcasts to deliver unfiltered messages and new voices on critical issues. But all National Urban League affiliates understand the power of emerging technology, adopting it to serve the present and prospective needs of their constituents.

This bold and strategic investment in America’s urban communities requires a multi-annual and multi-pronged commitment of $1 trillion over the next 5 years that would course correct our main streets.

While we scored many of the administration’s achievements “Superior,” our highest rating, President Obama’s tenure as a whole had shortcomings due to some notable missed opportunities and outright failures, such as the economic development of urban centers, gun violence, and the foreclosure and bank closure rates in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. On these, and other issues, we rated the Obama administration “Fair” or “Poor.” Our evaluation springs from a consideration of his accomplishments balanced against the conditions under which he served. The National Urban League has given the Obama Administration an overall rating of “Excellent,” our second-highest rating.