ANNAPOLIS — Race relations are better in Maryland than in most states, according to a recent study by WalletHub.

The study (https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-most-and-least-racial-progress/18428/) found that Maryland ranks 9th in racial integration and 11th among states that have made the most racial progress. The study found that Maryland ranks 5th among states with the lowest poverty rate gap.

The study found that New Mexico ranked No. 1 in racial integration and Wisconsin and the District of Columbia ranked last. The study found that Wyoming ranked No. 1 in racial progress and Iowa ranked last. Hawaii has the lowest poverty rate gap and Maine has the highest, according to the study.

Maryland was once a state where African Americans were held in bondage. The state’s public schools were legally segregated until the mid-1950s. Baltimore, which is predominantly African American, has one of the highest homicide rates in the nation and is plagued by generational poverty.

So why does Maryland rank so high?

Former Gov. Parris Glendening, a Democrat, called the study: “Interesting, encouraging and hopeful.” He said the findings are “not extraordinarily surprising” but added they are also “a reminder of how far we have to go.”

Sen. Cory McCray, D-Baltimore City, said he is not familiar with the study but believes its “findings are encouraging.”

He said increased diversity in the Maryland General Assembly is emblematic of racial progress in the state.

Richard Vatz, a professor of political persuasion at Towson University, said he believes there are flaws in the study.

“The WalletHub personal finance website has provided information that they claim represents ‘racial progress,’ and that is misleading at best. To focus on ‘gaps’ of economic achievement ignores the causes of said gaps. Maryland makes no effort to ensure stability of families and the high percentage of single-parent families in the state, both black and white. To that extent, one could say that there are smaller gaps in integration and racial progress in general.

However, Vatz said Maryland is likely more racially equitable than other states.

“That said, it is never bad to infer that Maryland ranks highly on any racial fairness measure, regardless of how valid or invalid it is. Just from an intuitive level, one can see that there is not a great racial disparity in political leadership, nor is there racial prejudice in state financial allocations or in the state in general.”

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