by James A. Bacon
The Center for Opportunity Urbanism has developed another set of metrics to suggest that Virginia, like much of the South, is a place where minorities enjoy superior economic opportunity. Bacon’s Rebellion has written in the past how African-Americans, in a reversal of the Great Migration a century ago, are moving back to the South. This new report, “Best Cities for Minorities,” indicates that Hispanics and Asians are prospering here, too.
The study ranks opportunity by four metrics: housing affordability, median household income, self-employment rate, and population growth. By these measures, Virginia’s three largest metropolitan regions — Washington, Hampton Roads and Richmond — consistently score among the most favorable of the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan regions.
“Overall, the analysis shows that ethnic minorities in metropolitan regions with significant economic growth and affordable housing tend to do better than in other locations irrespective of the dominant political culture,” write authors Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox.
Urban geographers Kotkin and Cox have positioned themselves as defenders of suburban growth and opponents of “smart growth” policies that restrict new residential construction and drive up housing prices. While I would classify myself as primarily in the “smart growth” camp, arguing for the advantages of compact, walkable development, I agree that such policies, as implemented in California and other parts of the country, are prone to creating housing crises and displacing less affluent, minority populations.
Bacon’s bottom line: Virginia’s political class needs to take a close look at these numbers. The politics of racial grievance is not as likely to play well here as in other metros where economic opportunities for minorities, especially blacks, are more limited. Given the rapid growth of minority populations, due largely to the decisions of thousands of households to move here from somewhere else, the politics of shared opportunity will likely strike a more responsive chord.
Let all those who have ears listen…
(Hat tip: Tim Wise.)There are currently no comments highlighted.