SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Median income for black households in Sioux Falls dropped closer to the poverty line last year, while the rest of the four-county area enjoyed another increase in middle class income. The persistent divide is evidence for the barriers faced by the African American community when it comes to education and employment.

The Argus Leader ( reports the Sioux Falls metro area’s black population is five times bigger than in 2000, and is growing yearly.

Recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show median income for black households dropped to $26,182 in 2015, thousands of dollars less than the national average for blacks. Median income for the rest of the Sioux Falls metro ticked up to $59,844. White families climbed even higher, reaching a median income of $61,681.

Sioux Falls resident and local Black Lives Matter leader DaVonte Clay has now found a good employer, but previously had plenty of run-ins with prejudice in the work place. After learning about the income gap for black families, Clay’s first reaction was to think about solutions.

“How we can start improving the livelihood of those who are struggling,” Clay said.

Mark Blackburn, assistant dean of diversity and inclusion at Augustana University said grassroots movements can spark change, but there also needs to be movement at the top.

“Who are the organizers, CEOs, the people in power to change that demographic?” Blackburn said. “To change this paradigm?”

“I still think that prejudice and racism is still there,” said Bob Harris, director of the South Dakota African American Museum. “We’ve come a long way, and we’ve still got a way to go.”

Information from: Argus Leader,