North Carolina’s growing African-American population contributes more than $44.7 billion to the state’s economy through its purchases and taxes — $22,272 per black resident — while costing the state budget $4.5 billion — or $2,498 per black resident — for health care, education and corrections, according to a new report by researchers at UNC.
If recent growth trends continue, the total economic impact of black spending in the state could increase to $60 billion by 2009.
The new report details the impact of African-American spending and employment, state government costs for education, health care and corrections, and ways North Carolina can better capitalize economically on its significant African-American population.
“This study shows that clear opportunities exist for financial institutions and other businesses to capitalize on this growing market,” said Andrea Harris, president of the N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development, which helped fund the study. “It also offers recommendations for expanding economic opportunity and impact.”
The study was conducted by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, part of UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. It follows the institute’s January 2006 report on the economic impact of the state’s Hispanic population. The report is available online.
Among the findings of the study, which used 2004 and 2005 data for analysis:
“The net cost to the state budget must be seen in the broader context of the aggregate benefit blacks bring to the state economy,” researchers John D. Kasarda ’71 (PhD), director of the Kenan Institute, and James H. Johnson Jr., director of the institute’s Urban Investment Strategies Center, wrote in the study. “Black-owned businesses, for instance, are also important employers of North Carolinians, creating almost 85,000 jobs. Above and beyond their direct and indirect impacts on North Carolina business revenues, black workers contribute immensely to the state’s economic output and cost competitiveness in a number of key industries.”
Three areas of opportunity could significantly expand the economic impact of African-Americans in North Carolina, researchers said. They are:
Researchers released the study findings at a briefing on the UNC campus. A panel discussion on the study findings followed, taped for later broadcast by UNC-TV’s Black Issues Forum. Panelists were Johnson; Harris; the Rev. William Barber, president of the N.C. Conference NAACP; Julius Chambers ’62 (LLBJD), attorney, former chancellor of N.C. Central University in Durham and current director of the Center for Civil Rights at UNC’s law school; and Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro.