New Prosperity Now Data Highlight Alarming Economic Disparities in the Nation’s Largest Cities
Local Level Financial Stability and Wealth Data Including Congressional Districts and Tribal Areas Featured in this Latest Release
Washington, D.C. – For the first time, the national nonprofit Prosperity Now has compiled local economic data across 26 outcome measures—from income and wealth to business ownership and employment to housing, access to health insurance and educational attainment—to rank the 64 largest cities in America according to a simple question: How well are they providing opportunities for their residents to build and maintain financial stability and wealth?
The results are striking and point to a persistent racial wealth divide in the United States: the populations of the “top ten” cities are 51% White and only 7.8% Black, while the ten lowest performing cities are 25.0% White and 45.9% Black.
“That Black households are so underrepresented in the more prosperous cities and so overrepresented in the poorly performing cities speaks to the lingering effects of generations of racism and discriminatory practices and policies as well as the structural barriers to economic mobility for Black families,” said Kasey Wiedrich, Director of Applied Research at Prosperity Now.
High ranking cities include a group on the West Coast as well as smaller, but still prosperous, cities in other parts of the country. The West Coast cities have high median incomes, low income poverty and high rates of college graduates. However, these cities have very low homeownership rates due to high housing costs. In contrast, the other top performing cities had some of the highest rates of homeownership in the US.
The Prosperity Now Scorecard is a comprehensive resource for data on household financial health and includes policy recommendations to help put everyone in the United States on a path to prosperity. The analysis released today updates the Scorecard data available at the local level—cities, counties and metro areas—to better understand opportunities for and barriers to prosperity within communities.
In addition, the local geographies in the Scorecard have been expanded to include tribal areas (i.e., American Indian reservations) and Congressional districts. With mid-term elections happening in November, this district-level data in particular can be used to further advocacy and activism on behalf of policy changes to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income households. Outcomes can now be compared across congressional district boundaries. Customized reports can be compiled to demonstrate the need for action.
“Our hope is that these new tools will help people access, understand and utilize the data in more meaningful ways to help make real change in their communities,” said Lebaron Sims, Senior Research Manager at Prosperity Now. To learn more about the 64 cities ranked in this Scorecard data release, read our brief, Prosperity in American Cities. To browse the comprehensive data, visit scorecard.prosperitynow.org.
Prosperity Now believes that everyone deserves a chance to prosper. Since 1979, we have helped make it possible for millions of people, especially people of color and those of limited incomes, to achieve financial security, stability and, ultimately, prosperity. We offer a unique combination of scalable practical solutions, in-depth research and proven policy solutions, all aimed at building wealth for those who need it most