Economic Snapshot | Budget, Taxes, and Public Investment

African Americans have plenty to lose under Trump’s budget plan

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump asked African Americans “what have you got to lose?” by voting him into office. After analyzing Trump’s “skinny budget,” now we know. Due to a long history of public policy creating and maintaining racial disparities, black families and communities disproportionately rely on social services. Unsurprisingly, in many of the programs facing significant cuts or complete elimination, African Americans are over-represented as participants. African Americans stand to lose billions in programs and services which will make it harder for black people to raise healthy children, get an education, live in a safe neighborhood, and secure adequate housing.

Cuts to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program nutrition assistance guarantees fewer black families receive nutrition education and supplements necessary for small children. Of total enrollment in the WIC program, blacks represent 20 percent of enrollment. Approximately 1 in 4 black students participate in after-school programs, and if federal funding were instead increased, another 4.5 million would participate. If enacted, the reduction of after-school and summer programs will leave millions of black students without opportunities and activities provided by these crucial services. After receiving K-12 support, nearly two-thirds of black undergraduates at public four-year institutions depend on tuition assistance received through Pell Grants, which are also on the chopping block. These grants are one way to increase the opportunity for educational attainment, which can provide economic upward mobility for generation. For young people deciding against a four-year degree, Job Corps (a Labor Department program) was another way to increase labor market skills. More than half of the Job Corps students who are black would lose out on such opportunities after drastic cuts to the program in the proposed budget.

Economic Snapshot

African Americans will be hurt by cuts to federal programs: Share of recipients of various federal programs who are African American

Job Corps 52%
Legal Services Corporations 28%
Community Development Block Grants 26%
Afterschool programs 24%
WIC 20%


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Data are latest available as published in government program reports and range from 2008–2014. "Pell Grants" specifically denotes grants for four-year public institutions.

Source: U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, and Agriculture, as well as Legal Services Corporation, The Leadership Conference, and Afterschool Alliance

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In communities of color across the country, Community Development Block Grants funds are essential to affordable housing, economic development, disaster relief, infrastructure, and so many other services. Billions of dollars in cuts to this Housing and Urban Development program would devastate community participants, more than one in four of whom is black. The Legal Services Corporation, a quarter of whose cases involve housing and foreclosure, is the largest funder of legal aid to low-income Americans and nearly 30 percent of their clients are black.

Trump seems to believe that to be black in America is to live in a constant nightmare of poverty, joblessness, and inadequate opportunities. If his “skinny budget” passes, it might turn his belief into reality for African American families and communities.

Excerpts from this text originally appeared in TalkPoverty