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Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges now than in 1980

For those supporting and fighting against Affirmative Action, you just got more ammunition for your cause.  According to the New York Times, black and Hispanic students “are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago.”  For supporters of Affirmative Action, the solution can only mean more initiatives to help bolster these numbers, and for those against it, well this is more justification on the need to end such programs.

To clarify, more blacks and Hispanics are going to college now than in the 1980s, the subject of the NYTimes article includes the top American colleges such as the Ivy League, Top Liberal Arts Colleges, Flagship Public State Universities, and Other Top Schools.  While blacks and Hispanics have made virtually no gain in admissions to Top colleges, Asians have seen a huge rise.  In one instance at Rice University, Asian representation saw an increase from 3% in 1980 to 30% in 2015.

When referencing Ivy League schools specifically, NYTimes notes that “Black students make up 9 percent of the freshmen at Ivy League schools but 15 percent of college-age Americans, roughly the same gap as in 1980. (A category for multiracial students, introduced in 2008, has slightly reduced the share of black students.)”  I do think it’s important to note the multiracial category which, in the instance of Brown University, saw more students claiming multiracial (9%) than black (8%).

In California, the racial breakdown versus state and national representation is massive with Asian students accounting for the majority of incoming Freshmen classes at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Riverside, and UC San Diego.  Hispanics have gained considerably, but are nothing close to the Asian student gain since 1980.

Yet with these gains, there is still an under representation when comparing the national student population at top colleges with the population breakdown of eligible students.  The biggest drop came with White Americans, however the decrease does not match the decrease in national demographic percentage, thus still creating an over representation of whites at Top Colleges. The most consistent of any demographic was black students.  In almost every chart, the black student representation stayed consistent throughout the 35 year analysis.  Unfortunately, this is not good news, as the black population has increased over that time, creating an under representation.

While these numbers are sure to shock alot of people, this does not come as a surprise to the writer.  I’ve consistently said that affirmative action does not benefit black and Hispanics as much as people believe, and now here is proof.  Eliminating the initiative may not be the solution either as shown in the NYTimes article, but this does promote the idea that more has to be done at the elementary and middle school levels to prepare young students for high school and ultimately college.

 

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