Economic disparities in the Washington, D.C. metro region provide opportunities for policy action

It’s well-known that all through cities in the US, there’s a important set of financial disparities between white folks and other people of shade. On this weblog, we explored the present contours of financial alternative within the 5 counties (Prince George’s, Montgomery, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax) and Washington, D.C. that make up the D.C. metropolitan space higher referred to as the DMV.

In an effort to determine traits related to financial mobility within the DMV, we reviewed extant 2019 information on life expectancy, revenue, unemployment, poverty, training, and homeownership by race within the DMV. Every of those components is usually understood to have an effect on a person’s capability to expertise financial well-being and generate wealth.

A chance to assist thriving Black life in Washington, D.C.

What we discovered is that inside these 5 counties and Washington, D.C., Washington D.C. exhibited the most important adverse racial disparities in life expectancy, revenue, unemployment, and poverty. Black residents in D.C., specifically, expertise the best adverse disparities in these classes.

For instance, Black life expectancy in Washington, D.C. was the bottom amongst all races at a mean of 72.7 years. This in contrast unfavorably with a mean of 88 years for white folks, 88.3 years for Latinos, and 88.9 years for Asians in Washington, D.C.. Black folks additionally had the bottom per capita annual median revenue and the best disparities in revenue at $29,927 when in comparison with that of white folks at $92,758 and Latinos at $41,151. As well as, in 2019, Black folks in Washington, D.C. skilled the very best unemployment fee, 4.8%, of any of the jurisdictions we reviewed. The most important share of Black residents dwelling beneath the poverty line, 21.6%, lived in Washington, D.C..

The areas in Washington D.C. with the best disparities are east of the Anacostia River and are legacy redlined communities. It’s clear that policymakers have alternatives to do extra to assist the financial and basic well-being of residents who stay in these communities.

Some necessary distinctions

However there have been some necessary variations among the many jurisdictions which might inform additional coverage inquiry.  For instance, in Montgomery County, Maryland, Black and white 2019 unemployment charges had been comparatively low and nearly similar, suggesting that Montgomery County could also be pursuing various insurance policies and approaches to make sure equitable employment.

We additionally discovered that Prince George’s County has the very best Black homeownership fee among the many jurisdictions reviewed. Homeownership depends upon a posh set of things, however it’s clear that Prince George’s County affords some necessary classes on Black homeownership that would inform different efforts to extend wealth amongst communities of shade throughout the DMV.

Whereas we discovered that Latinos skilled the very best adverse disparities in training throughout all of the jurisdictions reviewed, Washington, D.C. has the very best highschool commencement fee amongst Latinos. That is promising, so it could be invaluable to grasp what’s driving this pattern within the Washington, D.C. We additionally discovered that in Arlington County, Asians skilled disproportionately excessive charges of poverty at 20.5%.

These nuances are necessary to notice and for policymakers to handle and supply alternatives for cross-fertilization of coverage approaches throughout the DMV.

Racial wealth hole

As a result of wealth in the US is closely decided by homeownership and revenue, we offer some further geographical analyses. Throughout the 5 counties and Washington, D.C. we reviewed, there are giant adverse racial disparities in revenue and homeownership. Black and Hispanic/Latino residents expertise the best adverse disparities within the two wealth measures we analyzed.

We used revenue and homeownership information from the American Group Survey (ACS) 5-Yr Census to determine teams of census tracts the place folks of shade had the bottom revenue within the area. We did an extra overlay to call locations within the D.C. area the place homeownership charges amongst Blacks and Latinos stay the bottom. By means of a visible evaluation of those traits in location, we discovered “hotspot”[i] areas struggling disproportionately from the persistent racial homeownership hole.

Racial homeownership hole

General, throughout the jurisdictions we analyzed, there’s a $156,000 hole in median house worth between Black and white residents. Moreover, Black residents are practically two instances as prone to be rent-burdened, which means that housing prices ate up 30% or extra of a family’s revenue. Each of those components contribute to the difficulties Black residents expertise when attempting to build up generational wealth by way of homeownership.

A bar chart revealing homeownership rates by race/ethnicity in 5 DMV counties. Non-Hispanic white households have the highest rate while Black and Hispanic homeownership rates are the lowest.
Supply: U.S. Census Bureau. 2019. 2005-2019 American Group Survey 5-year Element Tables. Retrieved utilizing Census API. Click on the picture above to view a full-size model in a brand new tab.

Probably the most concentrated and contiguous disparities happen within the jap a part of the area, in Washington, D.C. east of the Anacostia River and contained in the beltway within the western portion of Prince George’s County. The disparities in northern Virginia are comparatively extra dispersed in comparison with the remainder of the area and embody co-occurring and co-located inequities being skilled by Hispanic/Latino and Asian Communities.

Geographic map indicating areas of the DMV with the highest homeownership rate for Black homeowners.
Supply: U.S. Census Bureau. 2019. 2005-2019 American Group Survey 5-year Element Tables.¬ Retrieved utilizing Census API. Click on the picture above to view the total interactive map.
Geographic map of areas in the DMV with rates of homeownership among the Latinx community.
Supply: U.S. Census Bureau. 2019. 2005-2019 American Group Survey 5-year Element Tables. Retrieved utilizing Census API. Click on the picture above to view the total interactive map.

Black folks consistently have the bottom homeownership charges of any race or ethnicity within the area. Nevertheless, on common throughout the area, about 20% of house owners in every county determine as both Hispanic, Asian and American Indian, with Hispanics making up the most important portion of this group. In Montgomery County, Fairfax County, and Prince George’s County, the census tracts with the very best concentrations of Hispanic/Latinos show homeownership charges underneath 23%.  

Racial Earnings Hole

Bar chart showing household incomes across regions in the DMV by race/ethnicity with Non-Hispanic white households having the highest median income.
Supply: U.S. Census Bureau. 2019. 2005-2019 American Group Survey 5-year Element Tables. Retrieved utilizing Census API. Click on the picture above to view a full-size model in a brand new tab.

Throughout the counties included within the examine, Black folks and Hispanic/Latinos constantly expertise the bottom median incomes within the area. Within the locations the place the revenue disparities are the best Black and Hispanic/Latinos have median incomes of $45,072 and $63,862 respectively. In Washington, D.C. particularly, the disparity between white and Black households is essentially the most disproportionate because the median family revenue for white residents, at $141,650, is over 3 times larger than that of Black residents, which is $45,072. Disparities between whites and Hispanic/Latinos are the deepest in Alexandria Metropolis, the place Hispanic/Latinos earn a median family revenue of $63,862 and white folks earn $141,650, and the place Latinos even have the bottom median family revenue within the area. Montgomery County and Washington D.C. even have excessive ranges of revenue disparity. In each counties, white folks have a median family revenue about 1.75 instances higher than the Hispanic/Latino inhabitants.

Coverage alternatives

Black and Latino residents within the D.C. metro space aren’t afforded the identical alternatives that their white counterparts are relating to insurance policies and practices in hiring, homeownership, and training. Native policymakers ought to deal with selling alternatives for larger incomes, homeownership charges, instructional alternatives and environments, and providers that promote higher well being and well-being outcomes.


­­[i] We outline 4 sorts of “hotspots” in our analysis. When there’s a grouping of two or extra census tracts with excessive concentrations of both a) Black or b) Latinos dwelling with both c) revenue beneath the regional median or with d) low charges of homeownership, these areas mild up like beacons downside areas that will most profit from focused neighborhood assist. Our evaluation begins with finding excessive concentrations of Black and Latino populations. This strategy hones in on areas the place essentially the most affect will be made to enhance the lives of a lot of folks. We then decided the extent of disparity round for revenue and homeownership. The tracts that present a focus of each our populations of curiosity and low revenue or low homeownership charges are the locations on which we suggest further focus, the “hotspots”. Within the following sections, we describe traits in focus areas primarily based on low measures in our two wealth indicators and classes discovered from our analysis that hopefully encourage neighborhood organizations in addition to native governments to concentrate to the huge disparities being allowed to fester of their neighborhoods. (Again to prime)

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