Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

A Vision for An Equitable D.C.

From the Urban Institute:

What would an equitable DC look like? Communities of color have faced decades of systemic racism and discriminatory policies and practices. These actions have barred people of color from certain jobs and neighborhoods and from opportunities to build wealth, leaving a legacy that persists today. If the nation’s capital were free of its stark racial inequities, it could be a more prosperous and competitive city—one where everyone could reach their full potential and build better lives for themselves and their families.

An east-west racial divide

Washington, DC, is one of most racially segregated cities in the United States, stemming from public policies and private actions that once limited where black residents could live, whether they could secure mortgages, and whom they could buy homes from. Today, Wards 4, 5, 7, and 8 on the east have a majority of black residents, and Wards 2, 3, and 6 on the west are majority white. About half of Hispanic residents live in Wards 1 and 4.

Since the 1950s, DC has been a majority-black city, but that majority has steadily shrunk. The black share of the population fell from 70 percent in 1980 to 61 percent in 2000 and 51 percent in 2010.

Racial equity has economic benefits for DC as a whole

Communities of color aren’t the only ones that would benefit from racial equity. DC’s economy benefits when racial inequities in employment and income are closed. When households have higher incomes, they spend more and make investments in businesses and in their own educations, all of which drives economic growth and job creation.

If people of color earned the same as their white counterparts, DC’s economy would have been more than $65 billion larger in 2012, according to the National Equity Atlas.

Read this report in its entirety at the Urban Institute