What’s The Matter With St. Louis?

by Dish Staff

St Louis

Yglesias digs up an illuminating set of maps:

In May of 2014, researchers from Washington University in St Louis and St Louis University put together a long report on racial health disparities in the St Louis area. It’s largely a deep dive into the socioeconomic roots of these disparities, and includes this map highlighting the pattern of segregation by race and income levels in both the City and County of St Louis. On the left is the distribution of the African American population in the city and county, and on the right is the distribution of poverty

Philip Bump examines the racial disparities in St. Louis:

The unemployment and poverty rates for blacks in St. Louis County are consistently higher than those rates for white residents. Only one time between 2007 and 2012 has the poverty rate for blacks been less than three times that of whites, according to Census data (which is only available through the latter year). The unemployment rate is two-to-three times higher, and, as of 2012, had grown worse while it grew better for whites.

What’s more, those figures disproportionately affect younger residents. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist David] Nicklaus pulls out a subset of Census data: “47 percent of the metro area’s African-American men between ages 16 and 24 are unemployed. The comparable figure for young white men is 16 percent.”

Jamelle Bouie expects tensions in the St. Louis area to continue for some time:

A 2012 report from University of Missouri–St. Louis criminologist David Klinger found that, from 2008 to 2011, St. Louis police officers fired their weapons 98 times. “Any comparison across cities right now is still missing the lion’s share of circumstances in which people are shot by the police,” Klinger said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “There are only a smattering of cities that report their officer-involved shootings, and when compared against them, St. Louis is on the high end.” The data on police violence is incomplete, as there is no federal effort to pull together information on unjustified homicides. But the anecdotes of brutality and excessive force out of St. Louis  and St. Louis County are rampant and often startling. In 2009, for example, a man was wrongly arrested, beaten by police, and subsequently charged for bleeding on their uniforms.

This abuse is so ubiquitous that the shooting of Michael Brown might seem like static against a backdrop of awfulness. But even for the area, Brown’s death was brutal. Which is why—in an otherwise quiet town in an otherwise quiet area—we’re dealing with an explosive fire that shows no signs of ending.