Behind the epidemic of police killings in America: Class, poverty and race
21 December 2018
Income and poverty
According to the US Census Bureau, 328 million people reside in the United States. Non-Hispanic whites make up 60.7 percent, black or African American 13.4 percent, and Hispanics or Latino 18.1 percent of the population. The annual median household income (MHI) in 2016 dollars amounts to $55,322 and the percentage of the population living in poverty stands at 12.3 percent. There is wide variation in these figures from state to state. Table 2 below highlights these facts. The table also demonstrates a broadly uniform phenomenon: the areas in which police killings occurred—either the cities and towns, or in the case of rural districts, the counties—almost always have lower median household incomes and more people living in poverty than the statewide average.
In 2017, according to the Washington Post, 987 people were shot and killed by the police. Overwhelmingly, men constituted 95.2 percent of those killed. Racial demographics included 475 white non-Hispanic victims (48.2 percent), 231 black victims (23.4 percent) and 209 Hispanic victims (21.2 percent). Twenty-five Native Americans made up 2.5 percent of those killed though they constitute only 1.3 percent of the population. On the other hand, 19 Asians represented 1.9 percent of those killed though they constitute 5.8 percent of the US population.
Twenty-six people (after the data was cross-referenced with KilledbyPolice.net and news sources) had an unknown race assigned. They made up 2.6 percent of those killed by police.
When this data is standardized to the number killed per 100,000, whites were killed at 0.237 per 100k, blacks at 0.530 per 100k and Hispanics at 0.358 per…