NEW IPO Logo - by Charles Larry Home Search Browse About IPO Staff Links

State Six

Decimated hopes

"Young black males in America's inner cities are an 'endangered species,' constantly threatened with physical, psychological; social annihilation.... They are truly rejects of our affluent society and misfits in their communities....

"The mortality rate of young, black males is so high that it has caused a decline in their expectancy rate for all blacks, the only group whose life expectancy did not increase in the last decade."

Source: Jewelle Taylor Gibbs, "Young Black Males in America: An Action Agenda," Confronting African-American Issues: A Plan for Action, Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, 1991.

No. 1 threat

"Drugs, combined with the epidemic spread of AIDS in the African-American community, pose a serious threat to the survival of African Americans as a people in America. The combined results of this plague are the single most hazardous threat to the national security of the United States.

"Incarceration is clearly not the solution. Our jails more resemble those of South Africa with every passing day. ... The United States has a dual drug policy— one for poor African Americans and another for middle-class America."

.Source: Randolph N. Stone, Cook County public defender, "The War on Drugs: the Wrong Enemy and the Wrong Battlefield," Confronting.

African American, male — and in the labor force

1948: 87 percent of black nationwide

1986: 57 percent.

Source: "Disintegration of the African-American Family," Confronting.

Eligible bachelors

In 1980 there were 45 employed African-American men aged 20-24 for every 100 African-American women of the same age.

Source: Same as above.

No. 5 cause of death in Illinois in 1988

(rates are per 100,000 estimated population July 1,1988)



Pneumonia and influenza


In 1988 race was not a factor in life expectancy

8/ August & September 1991/Illinois Issues

for people in Illinois over 85 years of age.

Source: Illinois Department of Public Health, Vital Statistics Illinois: 1988.

Illinois homicide victims

(989 reported murders in 1988)

















Source: Trends and Issues 90, Criminal Justice Information Authority.

African American, male —and in jail

Blacks make up 13 percent of the Illinois population and account for about 60 percent of all state prisoners. This figure fluctuated by no more than 2.5 percent from 1980-1989. Hispanics make up about 5 percent of the state's population. The percentage of Hispanic inmates increased from about 2 percent in 1980 to 9 percent in 1989. The percentage of white inmates decreased from about 39 percent in 1980 to 31 percent in 1989.

Source: Trends and Issues 90.

Dropping out of school and into prison

(based on a July 1990 survey of 700 male Department of Corrections inmates)



Illinois 1990


high school

high school

by race

dropout rate

dropout rate










Source: Alice Jones, "Inmate Survey of Educational Experiences and Attitudes," Trends and Issues 1991, Criminal Justice Information Authority.

Why these inmates dropped out

Arrest, substance abuse, fighting, gang activity: 34 percent.

Supporting themselves or family members: 24 percent.

Poor school adjustment: 22 percent.

Source: Same as above.

Good riddance?

How many got counseled by a teacher, principal or dean against leaving school? 12 1/2 percent.

Source: Same as above.

Drugs in Illinois schools

The Illinois Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA) surveyed 15,000 Illinois junior high and high school students during the 1989-90 school year. The survey shows that African-American students had the lowest overall rate of alcohol and other drug use. White students had the highest rate use of alcohol, tobacco and stimulants. Hispanics had slightly higher rates of marijuana, cocaine and hallucinogen use. Students in Cook County reported less alcohol and other drug use (except for cocaine, PCP and heroin) than students in the rest of the state. This is attributed primarily to the large number of African-American students in Cook County.

Source: DASA, 1990 Youth Survey.

Adolescent drug use nationwide

National research shows that black youths generally have lower rates of alcohol and illicit drug use than the young people of most other ethnic groups, except for Asians.

However, no survey research with random representative samples has been published on the rise in the use of crack. Indicators, such as admission figures to emergency rooms and treatment programs, show that crack is a particularly serious problem in African-American and other minority communities.

Source: Prendergast and Austin, Substance Abuse Among Black Youth, 1989.

Adult drug use nationwide

Among people age 35 and older, the 1988 National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) survey found blacks more likely than whites or Hispanics to have recently used an illicit drug.

African Americans accounted for 39 percent (63,002) of the 160,170 drug-related emergency room cases reported to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) in 1988. Of the 63,002 patients, 62 percent were male and 40 percent were 20-29 years old. Fifty-seven percent of cocaine-related emergencies involved blacks.

There were 6,756 drug-abuse related deaths reported to DAWN in 1988. Blacks accounted for 30 percent of these. Over 74 percent of the African-American dead were males; 46 percent were 36-39 years old. Blacks accounted for 41 percent of cocaine deaths and 31 percent of heroin/morphine deaths.

Source: NIDA Capsules, DASA.

IV drug use and AIDS

African Americans are 12 percent of the U.S. population but account for 27 percent of individuals diagnosed as having AIDS, according to a September 1989 HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report by the Centers for Disease Control. Of these, 44 percent reported IV drug use prior to diagnosis with AIDS. Blacks comprise more than half of the AIDS cases who were heterosexual partners of IV drug abusers and 53 percent of pediatric AIDS cases.

Source: Same as above.

AIDS and HIV in Illinois

(cumulative cases as of June 30, 1991)*































*Numbers do not add up to total: Asian, American-Indian and race-unknown cases are not cited.

Source: IDPH, AIDS/HIV Surveillance Report.

General funds

On June 30,1991, the end of fiscal year 1991, Illinois had a general funds balance of $99.554 million only because the comptroller was holding $305 million in bills that the state lacked the cash to pay. The general funds end-of-month balance in July was $233.334 million. The average daily available balances were $107.571 million in June and $161.441 million in July.

Source: Office of the Comptroller.


The nation's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.0 percent in June and 6.8 percent in July; Illinois' was 7.3 percent in June and 6.7 percent in July. The latter was the third lowest among the nation's 11 most populous states.

In June the state's civilian labor force consisted of 6.061 million people with 5.620 million working and 441,000 unemployed. In July there were 6.042 million people in the labor force; 5.636 million were employed and 406,000 were looking for work. June saw school closings swell the number of people looking for work in a slow job market. July saw fewer people looking and more summer, retail and construction jobs. Manufacturing employment held steady, temporary layoffs balanced by new hires. Only government and transportation jobs showed declines, both due to school closings. .

Final unemployment rates in the state's metro areas in April and May were:

Aurora-Elgin, 6.8 percent; 6.2 percent.
Bloomington-Normal, 4.1 percent; 3.7 percent.
Champaign-Urbana-Rantoul, 3.7 percent; 3.6 percent.
Chicago, 6.3 percent; 5.9 percent.
Quad Cities (Illinois sector), 6.8 percent; 6.0 percent.
Decatur, 7.5 percent; 7.6 percent.
Joliet, 7.1 percent; 6.4 percent.
Kankakee, 7.4 percent; 6.7 percent.
Lake County, 4.4 percent; 3.7 percent.
Peoria, 6.4 percent; 5.9 percent.
Rockford, 6.9 percent; 6.4 percent.
Springfield, 4.1 percent; 4.0 percent.
St. Louis (Illinois sector), 6.8 percent; 6.5 percent.

Source: Department of Employment Security.

Margaret S. Knoepfle

August & September 199I/IllinoisIssues /9

|Home| |Search| |Back to Periodicals Available| |Table of Contents| |Back to Illinois Issues 1991|
Illinois Periodicals Online (IPO) is a digital imaging project at the Northern Illinois University Libraries funded by the Illinois State Library