Fact-Checking Rick Perry's Economic Speech

The Republican presidential candidate weighs in on the economy.

Former Texas Governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry holds up a cookie that says 'Perry President' before addressing the National Press Club Luncheon July 2, 2015 in Washington, DC. Perry began his speech about how African-Americans should support him and the GOP by recounting the racially-motivated 1916 lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas, and how far Texas and the nation had come since that time.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry gave his first major economic policy address in Washington. While he declined to weigh in on issues involving Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or even his ideal corporate tax rate, the former Texas governor and did make some concrete claims about the economy. Bloomberg decided to fact-check some of them.

One-quarter of African Americans live under the poverty line

True: Census figures show about 27 percent of Americans who identify as "black alone" lived below the poverty line as of 2013. Perry also said that number has increased under President Obama, which is also true: Since 2008, the poverty rate for blacks rose about 2.5 percentage points, although increases also occurred among whites. Poverty rates declined for Asian Americans. 

Texas has recently had the highest high school graduation rate for African Americans, 13 points above national average

True: For the 2012-13 school year, at least, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, although PolitiFact has some quibbles

High school grads make 50 percent more than non-high school grads

Understatement: Actually, Perry seems to have low-balled the impact of a high school diplomaMedian weekly earnings for the first quarter of 2015 average $885 for those who graduated high school or got even more education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median is $478 for those with less than a high school diploma. That's an 85 percent disparity. 

“A four-year degree at the typical private university in this country costs $170,000”

Hard to say: There aren't a lot of good measures of tuition costs, and it's unclear which he's using. If you take the College Board's estimate, it would come out to just under $125,000. However, the College Board's numbers don't factor in most room and board and other costs that could actually put the right number over $170,000. 

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