Original version of Ted Cruz fact check, Feb. 3, 2016

Statement:

"During eight years under Ronald Reagan, African-American median income rose by about $5,000."
— Ted Cruz on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 in a town hall in Henniker, N.H.

By Louis Jacobson on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 at 6:04 p.m.

During a town hall event at New England College in Henniker, N.H., Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz faced a questioner who asked what he would do for "struggling minorities."

Cruz said the key is economic growth, underpinned by a vigorous free-enterprise system. He suggested that his father -- who worked as a dishwasher shortly after emigrating from Cuba to the United States -- would have lost his job if politicians at the time had raised the minimum wage as high as today’s Democrats would like.

Cruz pointed to the Reagan years as a golden age for African-American economic advancement.

"During eight years under Ronald Reagan," Cruz said, "African-American median income rose by about $5,000. That is real and meaningful transformation."

We should note that Cruz was describing the Reagan years as a time of economic growth, not crediting Reagan for a specific policy. So we’ll simply look to see how wages performed.

We turned to median income data collected annually by the U.S. Census Bureau. All figures below have been adjusted for inflation.

White

Median income, 1980
$52,824
Median income, 1988
$56,094
Gain in dollars
+$3,270
Gain in percent
+ 6 percent

Black
Median income, 1980
$39,394
Median income, 1988
$44,581
Gain in dollars
+ $5,187
Gain in percent
+ 13 percent

Hispanic
Median income, 1980
$39,648
Median income, 1988
$41,917
Gain in dollars
+ $2,269
Gain in percent
+ 6 percent

So Cruz is right -- the gain in median income for African-Americans under Reagan was indeed about $5,000, and that was a faster dollar increase and a faster percentage increase than for either whites or Hispanics over the same period. While black incomes were lower than whites and Hispanics, the gains from 1980 to 1988 were impressive.

Given that Cruz was touting Reagan’s policies as a cure for inequality, however, it’s worth noting that Reagan wasn’t the best president for African-American median income in recent history. That crown goes to Bill Clinton -- unlike Reagan, a Democratic president.

Between 1992 and 2000, black incomes rose from $37,547 to $49,687 -- a gain of $12,140 and a striking 32 percent increase.

Our ruling

Cruz said that "during eight years under Ronald Reagan, African-American median income rose by about $5,000."

He’s correct on the number -- and that was a faster increase, in both dollars and percentages, than either whites or Hispanics saw over the same period. That said, the increases were even stronger under a subsequent Democratic president, Bill Clinton. The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information, so we rate it Mostly True.