Data & Analysis
Robust data and research are essential to understand the forces that shape the economy and develop strategies to build an equitable economy. In partnership with the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, we're working to provide relevant data and analyses to the national and local organizations that are advancing equity as an economic imperative.
- Maintain the National Equity Atlas, a comprehensive data resource to track, measure, and make the case for inclusive growth
- Analyze demographic change, equity, and economic prosperity in diverse demographic and economic contexts
- Produce tailored data and analyses to inform decision-making, policy development, and organizing in local communities
Local partners play an important role in shaping our research agenda and ensuring that we produce data and analyses that inform action. Community leaders are using our reports to build a shared understanding about how equity matters to the economy, engage new partners, and develop strategies to advance equitable growth.
The National Equity Atlas is a first-of-its-kind data and policy tool for community leaders and policymakers working to build an equitable economy. The Atlas provides in-depth data, charts, and maps on demographic change, racial inclusion, and the economic benefits of equity for the 150 largest regions, 100 largest cities, all 50 states, and the United States. It also includes examples of how communities are using equity data to drive policy change, groundbreaking analyses like the our new brief about the GDP gains from racial inclusion, and much more.
June 28, 2017
Located in the Mississippi Delta, Sunflower County is home to a resilient community of residents, local leaders, and advocates committed to reversing systemic, pervasive disparities. Looking forward, communities of color will continue to represent the majority of residents in the county. Equitable growth could provide a path to sustained economic prosperity in Sunflower County. By advancing policy strategies to grow good jobs, build healthy communities of opportunity, prevent displacement, and ensure just policing and court systems, Sunflower County can put all residents on the path toward reaching their full potential. This equity analysis was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Read the full profile.
June 28, 2017
Biloxi, Mississippi is becoming increasingly diverse despite experiencing population decline. The city’s diversity can be a tremendous economic asset if people of color are fully included as workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. By advancing policy strategies to grow good jobs, build healthy communities of opportunity, prevent displacement, and ensure just policing and court systems, Biloxi can put all residents on the path toward reaching their full potential. This equity profile was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support local community groups, elected officials, planners, business leaders, funders, and others working to build a stronger and more equitable city and region. Read the full profile.
June 28, 2017
Las Cruces, New Mexico is already 63 percent people of color; growth and transformation in the city has been driven mostly by an increase in the Latino population. By growing good jobs, connecting younger generations with older ones, integrating immigrants into the economy, building communities of opportunity, and ensuring educational and career pathways, the city can secure a bright future for the city and region. This equity analysis was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Read the full profile.
June 28, 2017
Farmington, New Mexico is already 50 percent people of color; growth and transformation in the city has been driven mostly by an increase in the Latino and Native American populations. Farmington’s diversity is a major asset in the regional economy, but inequities and disparities are holding the city back. Equitable growth is the path to sustained economic prosperity in the city and region. Knowing how a community stands in terms of equity is a critical first step in planning for greater equity. This equity analysis was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Read the full profile.
June 28, 2017
Battle Creek, Michigan is becoming a majority people-of-color city, and communities of color will continue to drive growth and change into the foreseeable future. Embedding an equity approach throughout city government and advancing policy strategies to grow good jobs, build healthy communities of opportunity, prevent displacement, and ensure just policing and court systems, is fundamental to a brighter future for all of Battle Creek’s residents. This equity profile was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support local community groups, elected officials, planners, business leaders, funders, and others working to build a stronger and more equitable city and region. Read the full profile.
June 12, 2017
After decades of job and population loss, the City of Detroit has shown recent signs of growth. However, this Detroit Renaissance is not enjoyed equally by all residents; deep racial disparities, declining wages, and a hollowing out of middle-wage, high-opportunity jobs threaten the city’s rebound and economic viability. Equitable development strategies will be essential if growth is to have an appreciable impact on poverty, inequality, and racial disparities. This equity profile was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support local community groups, elected officials, planners, business leaders, funders, and others working to build a stronger and more equitable city. Read the the full profile.
May 23, 2017
Since 1990, Jackson, Mississippi has experienced notable demographic growth and transformation — driven mostly by an increase in the Black and Latino populations. Today, these demographic shifts persist. By growing good jobs, connecting younger generations with older ones, integrating immigrants into the economy, Jackson can put all residents on the path towards reaching their full potential, and secure a bright future for the city and region. This equity analysis of Jackson was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Read the full profile.
May 8, 2017
With millions in public and private investments on the horizon, Buffalo, New York, is poised for resurgence. But if new investments do not address persistent racial and economic inequities, the city’s long-term economic future is at risk. This health equity and inclusive growth profile offers leaders data and strategies to undergird policy solutions to advance health equity, inclusive growth, and a culture of health. They were developed by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC, in partnership with Open Buffalo, and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read the policy brief and the full profile.
April 26, 2017
Grand Rapids is an increasingly diverse city. While it has experienced some overall population loss over the last decade, communities of color have significantly grown – and their ability to participate and thrive is central to the city’s success. This profile shows how equitable growth is the path to sustained economic prosperity in the region. It was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to assist local community groups, elected officials, planners, business leaders, funders, and others working to build a stronger and more equitable city. Read the full profile.
April 23, 2017
Long Island – defined as Nassau and Suffolk counties – is rapidly diversifying. Today, one in three Long Island residents is a person of color – up from roughly one in 10 residents in 1980. Black Long Islanders, who were largely excluded from the massive federally subsidized suburban development that characterizes Long Island, continue to face barriers to full social, economic, and political inclusion. This profile shows how persistent segregation and racial disparities in wealth, housing, educational attainment and many other areas is costing Long Island billions of dollars in potential economic growth each year. The accompanying policy brief provides a series of recommendations designed to close the racial wealth divide which would result in a major boost to Long Island’s economy. It was produced by PolicyLink and PERE, with support from Citi Community Development, the Long Island Community Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read the policy brief and the full profile.
April 20, 2017
New Orleans’ incredible diversity can be a tremendous economic asset if people of color are fully included as workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. However, while the city’s economy is showing signs of resurgence after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, rising inequality, stagnant wages, and persistent racial inequities place its long-term economic future at risk. This equity profile was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support local community groups, elected officials, planners, business leaders, funders, and others working to build a stronger and more equitable city. Read the full profile.
April 17, 2017
Fresno is the nation’s top agricultural county, yet it struggles with slow growth, high unemployment, and an economy dominated by low-wage jobs and few pathways into the middle class. While communities of color account for 68 percent of the population — up from 38 percent in 1980 — the county’s racial inequities persist across all indicators of community health and well-being. This health equity and inclusive growth profile and accompanying policy brief were developed in partnership with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They provide unique data and actionable solutions for residents, advocates, funders, business leaders, and policymakers seeking to reduce racial inequities and build a stronger Fresno. Read the policy brief and the full profile.
March 2, 2017
The 2017 Equity Profile of the Los Angeles Region, highlights the widening inequities in income, wealth, health and opportunity in Los Angeles County. This summary and full report was developed by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC, and is supported by the Weingart Foundation.
The new report underscores that, over the past several decades, long-standing inequities in income, wealth, health, and opportunity have reached historic levels. And while many have been affected by this growing inequality, communities of color have felt the greatest pains as the economy has shifted and stagnated.
An Equity Profile of the Detroit Region
June 30, 2015
The Detroit region is undergoing growth and change. After losing approximately 156,000 people between 2000 and 2010, the region is projected to reverse its recent losses and grow by about 5 percent over the next 30 years. People of color will make up a growing share of the population, with much of that growth propelled by Latinos and Asians. An infusion of new public and private investments along with middle-wage job growth is also fueling an economic recovery, what some have called a Detroit Renaissance. However, not everyone will benefit unless business, community, and political leaders work together to connect people of color to jobs, business opportunities, quality education and career training, and healthy homes and neighborhoods. Read the summary and the full profile.
Equitable Growth Profile of Fairfax County
June 18, 2015
With a median household income of $110,292, Fairfax County, Virginia is one of the wealthiest counties in the nation—but not all residents share in this economic prosperity. As its population has grown and diversified over the past 25 years, inequities in income and opportunity by race and geography have also increased. Given that communities of color are expected to increase from 45 to 72 percent of the population by 2040, taking concrete steps to create pathways for the communities being left behind to connect to education and good jobs is critical for the county’s economic future. This study was produced in partnership with the County and other local leaders to support their efforts to build a stronger and more equitable county. Read the summary and the full profile.
An Equity Profile of the San Francisco Bay Area Region
April 22, 2015
The Bay Area is booming, but a rising tide economy is not lifting up its low-income communities and communities of color. As communities of color continue to drive growth and change in the region, addressing wide racial inequities and ensuring people of color can fully participate as workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators is an urgent priority. Our analysis finds that the regional economy could have been $117 billion stronger in 2012 had its racial gaps in income and employment. This profile, produced for The San Francisco Foundation, describes the region’s demographic transformation and performance on a series of equity indicators. Read the summary (web version / download pdf) and the full profile (web version / download pdf) and explore indicators in the Atlas.
Equitable Growth Profile of the Research Triangle Region
March 31, 2015
The Research Triangle Region has a long tradition of growth and change, as its research universities and technologically sophisticated businesses have served markets and attracted people from across the United States and around the world. From the city cores of Raleigh and Durham to small towns and rural areas throughout the region, the communities that make up the Research Triangle have a common goal of seeing that all its people have pathways to success.
Equitable Growth Profile of the Cape Fear Region
February 11, 2015
The Cape Fear region in North Carolina is experiencing a demographic transformation characterized by a diversifying younger population and a rapidly growing senior population that is predominantly White. To secure a thriving economy for the decades to come, the region must tap the economic potential of its growing young population. Building education and career pathways for all and ensuring young workers are prepared for the jobs of the future are key strategies for inclusive growth in the region.
Equitable Growth Profile of the Piedmont Triad Region
December 4, 2014
The Piedmont Triad region in North Carolina—covering 12 counties and home to the cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point—is a growing region whose demographics are rapidly changing. Communities of color are driving growth, and have increased from 20 to 33 percent of the population since 1980. Ensuring its diverse residents can participate in the regional economy and contribute to stronger job growth and broadly shared prosperity is critical for the region’s future. Growing good jobs, investing in its workforce, and infusing economic inclusion into economic development and growth strategies are promising strategies. Download the profile and summary.
Equitable Growth Profile of the Omaha-Council Bluffs Region
December 2, 2014
The Omaha-Council Bluffs region has a relatively strong and resilient economy, with overall low unemployment and steady job growth. At the same time, wages have stagnated for most workers and many communities of color face barriers to accessing good jobs, living wages, and the education needed for the jobs of the future. Increasing connections to good jobs, raising the floor for low-wage work, and building communities of opportunity metro-wide are key strategies to shift the region towards equitable growth. Download the profile and summary, and read this post.
An Equity Profile of the Houston-Galveston Region
October 13, 2014
Houston-Galveston is characterized by overall economic strength and resilience, but wide racial gaps in income, health, and opportunity coupled with declining wages, a shrinking middle class, and rising inequality place the region’s economic success and future at risk. Our analysis showed the region already stands to gain a great deal from addressing racial inequities. If racial gaps in income had been closed in 2012, the regional economy would have been $243.3 billion stronger: a 54 percent increase. Download the equity profile, summary, and addendum with the GDP analysis.Courtesy of Neighborhood Centers Inc.
An Equity Profile of Southeast Florida
June 11, 2014
Communities of color are driving Southeast Florida’s population growth, and their ability to participate and thrive is central to the region’s economic success. But wide racial gaps in income, health, and opportunity place its future at risk. Creating good jobs, connecting youth and vulnerable workers to training and career pathways, and increasing access to economic opportunities can secure a bright economic future for the region. Download the equity profile and summary.
An Equity Profile of Kansas City
October 29, 2013
While Kansas City's regional economy is relatively resilient, inequities in educational attainment and economic opportunity for its black and Latino communities place its economy at risk. The process of developing this profile helped build a broader coalition for equitable growth that includes the Mid-America Regional Council (a regional planning agency), Kansas City Regional Equity Network, and Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Download the equity profile and summary.
An Equity Profile of Rhode Island
February 20, 2013
Our analysis showed that communities of color are driving growth and change in the Ocean State – growing from 7 percent of the population in 1980 to 24 percent of the population today – yet face barriers accessing quality employment. It inspired Governor Chafee’s Executive Order on Diversity, aimed at increasing opportunities for people of color to access government jobs and business contracts. Download the equity profile and summary.
September 11, 2017
Renters now represent the majority in the nation’s 100 largest cities, and contribute billions to local economies. Yet renters face a toxic mix of rising rents and stagnant wages, both of which add up to an unprecedented affordability crisis that stymies their ability to contribute to the broader economy and thrive. This analysis, produced in support of the Renter Week of Actionoccurring September 16-24, reveals what renters and the nation stand to gain from addressing this crisis. We find that nationwide, if renters paid only what was affordable for housing, they would have $124 billion extra to spend in the community every year, or $6,200 per rent-burdened household. Download the national fact sheet and press release.
In 2015, 78 percent of America’s seniors were white while 49 percent of the nation’s youth were people of color — a phenomenon that we call the racial generation gap. To the extent that racial divides result in predominantly white seniors choosing not to invest in a more racially diverse young population, this could hamstring the development of the next generation of workers and leaders. This research brief examines the growth of the racial generation gap and its effect on per-child k-12 education spending. We find that every percentage-point increase in the racial generation gap is associated with a decrease in state and local per-child education spending of around 1.5 percent. This adds up in places that have seen a lot of demographic change. For example, Nevada’s spending could be about $2,600 more per student if there was no racial generation gap. Given this relationship, it is critical to ensure equitable school funding, direct investments in youth, and build multi-generational coalitions for change. Download the BRIEF or DATA.
The latest brief from the National Equity Atlas team, Race, Place, and Jobs: Reducing Employment Inequality in America’s Metros, analyzes the relationship between racial and spatial inequality in employment across America’s largest 150 metropolitan regions. We find that in several regions with large racial gaps in employment such as Youngstown and Milwaukee, unemployed workers of color tend to live in a small number of neighborhoods. In these places, neighborhood-targeted workforce development and job access strategies have the potential to increase racial equity and reduce disparities at the regional level, building stronger and more inclusive regional economies. Download the report.
How much stronger could the economy be if everyone who wanted a job could find one—regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender? This analysis, produced for the Fed Up campaign for Federal Reserve policies that work for communities most left behind by the recovery, estimates the potential economic gains of full employment for all. Find out what the United States economy—and the economies of the 12 metropolitan regions where each Federal Reserve office is located—could look like with true full employment for all. (Detailed methodological appendix forthcoming).
How much could the economy benefit from racial inclusion? This research brief estimates the economic boost of racial inclusion for the largest 150 regions, all 50 states, and the nation. We found that the national economy stands to grow $2.1 trillion every year from racial equity, and that every region in the country would gain millions per year – from $287 million in Springfield, Missouri (the lowest potential gain) to $510 billion in Los Angeles (the highest). Download the brief, press release, or data.
Minnesota’s Tomorrow: Equity Is the Superior Growth Model
March 26, 2014
A once-homogeneous state, Minnesota is rapidly becoming more diverse and is now home to the nation’s largest Somali population and its second-largest Hmong population. But it is also home to some of the largest racial gaps in economic opportunity. By implementing an equitable growth agenda, Minnesota can fully leverage its newfound diversity as an asset and build an economy that provides opportunities for all Minnesotans to flourish. Download the full report and the one-page summary.
In a state where more than 7 of every 10 youth are people of color, equity is the key to a prosperous economy for all. Our report shares principles and policy priorities to build an equitable Golden State, and serves as the backbone for our policy work in California. Download the report in English or Spanish and view demographic change maps.
America’s Tomorrow: Equity Is the Superior Growth Model
November 9, 2011
As the country witnesses the emergence of a new racial and ethnic majority, equity—long a matter of social justice and morality—is now also an economic imperative. The nation can only achieve and sustain growth and prosperity by integrating all into the economy, including those who have too often been left behind. America’s Tomorrow was the framing paper for the fourth annual Equity Summit held in Detroit in 2011. Download the full report and summary, available in English and Spanish.
Small changes in tax policy can have huge benefits for low-income people, struggling communities, and the nation's economy - and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) proves it. The credit has lifted 6.5 million people out of poverty while increasing employment in communities with the greatest need, particularly communities of color.
Here's a simple way to grow an equitable economy and lift 700,000 people out of poverty: pay a decent wage to restaurant servers and other tipped workers.
Our research agenda is guided by a group of leaders working to advance equity as the superior growth model in their states and regions:
- Steve Bradberry, The Alliance Institute (New Orleans, LA)
- Rev. Nelson Johnson, Beloved Community Center (Greensboro, NC)
- Karen Landry, War on Poverty-Florida and Southern Regional Asset Building Coalition (Jacksonville, FL)
- Sharmain Matlock-Turner, Urban Affairs Coalition (Philadelphia, PA)
- Repa Mekha, Nexus Community Partners (Saint Paul, MN)
- Bee Moorhead, Texas Impact (Austin, TX)
- Maricela Morales, Coastal Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) (Oxnard, CA)
- Ed Sivak, Mississippi Economic Policy Center (Jackson, MS)
- Nathaniel Smith, Partnership for Southern Equity (Atlanta, GA)
- Barbara Stiffarm, Opportunity Link (Havre, MT)
- George Swan, Wayne County Community College District (Detroit, MI)
- Benjamin Torres, CD Tech (Los Angeles, CA)