Evidently, education still stinks for many blacks in the South: Steve Sailer pointed to improvements in education in the South as a possible reason for vocab gains among blacks in last few decades. So I looked at trends for 9 U.S. regions for both blacks and whites, and this is what I found:
Blacks--mean vocab score (out of 10) and % change since 1970s
1. West North Central 5.55 (+11.0)
2. Middle Atlantic 5.38 (+10.2)
3. West South Central 5.32 (+14.4)
4. East North Central 5.28 (+9.8)
5. South Atlantic 5.00 (-11.8)
6. Pacific 4.87 (-10.8)
7. East South Central 4.68 (-16.4)
(I excluded the New England and Mountain regions because of small sample sizes.) While the WSC region has seen big improvements (TX, OK, LA, AR) the rest of the South has actually gotten worse. The Pacific region also sunk 10.8%.
Whites--mean vocab score (out of 10) and % change since 1970s
1. New England 6.86 (+2.7)
2. Pacific 6.79 (+6.0)
3. Mountain 6.71 (+7.0)
4. West North Central 6.44 (+3.5)
5. Middle Atlantic 6.39 (-3.9)
6. South Atlantic 6.38 (+12.5)
7. East North Central 6.16 (+1.0)
8. West South Central 6.15 (+2.7)
9. East South Central 5.86 (+4.6)
For whites, New England is about to lose it's first place position to either the Pacific (or even Mountain) region. California has been losing a lot of working- class whites with modest vocabs. What is intersting is that the mountain states have been absorbing many of those migrants, and yet have improved slightly more than California has. The other big gainer has been the South Atlantic which includes DE, MD, and DC, along with all the other states you would think would go in this category.
One pattern I notice is that improvement has been more consistently positive for whites across the country (albeit modest in some places) while regions have varied more for blacks. Is this due to a greater standard deviation of environments for blacks?
Another thing I see (and the data from this decade are no different from what I have seen before) is that the dumbest whites and the dumbest blacks like to live in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Is it somethin' in the cookin' down there? The problem is that, according to these data, the white folks there are moving up while the black folks are slipping farther behind. But whites there better not get cocky because if current trends continue, they could get passed up by blacks from places like Nebraska and Minnesota.