Yet, a tiny number of places exist where black household income is greater than that of whites. Of the 364 large U.S. counties whose populations are at least 5 percent black, there are seven, according to a Stateline analysis of U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data for 2010-14…
The greatest similarities may be their proximity to core urban areas and high-paying corporate or government jobs, as well as their supply of affordable, albeit expensive, homes and good schools.
Valerie Wilson of EPI said affluent black families may have had to move farther from cities to find the good housing and schools they seek because the black middle class, with less net worth, cannot afford rising housing prices in the cities or private schools.
The article stresses that there are no lessons to be learned here even as there might be some patterns. The seven places do raise a number of interesting questions worth exploring:
- The emphasis here is on the movement of black households to these counties. At the same time, what traits do the white residents of these counties have (that they are not living in areas with more inequality)?
- Did the counties or local governments do anything to help promote these trends? I’m guessing these are largely the result of the “free market.” Yet, just because it happened in seven counties suggests this is a pretty rare outcome of the this free market.
- What are the levels of residential segregation in these counties? Simply suggesting that blacks and whites have similar incomes doesn’t necessarily mean that the two groups regularly interact.
- That this kind of equality can only be found in suburban areas likely would not please many suburban critics. However, many large cities and closer suburbs have a range of issues – from concentrated poverty to a lack of affordable housing – that can limit the opportunities for non-whites to succeed.
These places would be worth watching in the coming years.