As measures of economic health, inclusion and equity are as important as job creation and capital investment.
During the past two months and in the wake of recent tragedies, the US has witnessed a wave of mass protests related to racial justice. These protests have helped fuel a long-simmering dialogue on systemic racism and injustices that the black community faces, as well as underscored a desire to do more to advance justice, inclusion and equity.
Our Economic Development Advisory Services (EDAS) team is a strong proponent of a holistic approach to economic development. As measures of economic health, inclusion and equity are as important as more traditional factors such as job creation and capital investment. Our approach is based on EDAS’ analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data that indicates communities that promote greater inclusion typically enjoy greater economic growth than their less-inclusive peers.
Few regions are exempt from racial inequities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median income for white households exceeds that of non-white households in each of the country’s 100 most populous metros. When it comes to poverty, the same applies. The non-white poverty rate exceeds the white poverty rate in all of the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Additionally, in the country’s 35 largest metropolitan areas, poverty rates among communities of color are at least 50% greater than white poverty rates. In Minneapolis, for example, more than 1 in 4 black/African-American residents live in poverty, while the figure is less than 6% for white residents.