Analyses & Tools
October 15, 2019
Regional economies play an important role in shaping opportunities and outcomes for low-income residents and people of color. Broad trends in the U.S. economy—such as the decline of traditional manufacturing, the growth of high-tech industries, and the rapid expansion of low-wage service jobs—occur unevenly across the nation’s largest metro areas. To better understand the implications of these trends for advancing regional equity and shared prosperity, this report presents a typology that classifies the 150 largest U.S. regions based on (1) the growth of advanced industries; (2) the decline of manufacturing jobs; and (3) the quality of service-sector jobs that generally do not require a BA degree. Understanding the connections between these factors can help local leaders identify and develop tailored strategies to grow good jobs, create accessible career pathways for people of color, nurture equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems, and improve job quality for all workers. Download the report, methodology, and summary.
To illustrate how these interrelated dynamics manifest at the local level, the report is accompanied by three case studies of diverse metropolitan areas representing different regional types: Charlotte, North Carolina metro; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania metro; and Stockton, California metro.
August 5, 2019
With the third-highest level of working poverty in the country, many New Mexican families are already struggling to make ends meet, and predatory financial services further strip their wealth and exacerbate financial insecurity. The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (NMCLP) is working to protect low-income communities from predatory lenders and tax preparation services. PolicyLink, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, and NMCLP, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, co-produced two fact sheets: one highlighting the impact of predatory lenders on Native American communities, and one describing how expensive tax preparation services cost New Mexican families up to $54 million in 2015. These tools will support NMCLP’s policy campaigns to regulate predatory financial services and protect working families. Download Ensuring New Mexicans Receive Their Full Tax Refund and New Mexicans Deserve Fair Loans.
June 4, 2019
Produced in partnership with the San Francisco Foundation, the Bay Area Equity Atlas is a comprehensive data support system to track the state of equity across the Bay Area region and inform solutions for inclusive prosperity. This new community data resource brings the power of the National Equity Atlas to the nine-county Bay Area, providing 21 indicators with deeply disaggregated data by race, income, ancestry and more for 271 geographies, along with policy solutions, examples, and residents’ stories of challenge and progress. It equips community leaders and policymakers with facts and analyses to:
- Assess how well Bay Area communities are doing on key measures of social and economic inclusion, neighborhood opportunity, and political voice and power
- Spark and inform new conversations about why—and how much—equity matters to the cultural and economic vitality of the Bay Area as a whole and each of its communities
- Inform policies, plans, strategies, business models, and investments for inclusive prosperity
December 5, 2018
This analysis sheds new light on the 106 million Americans — nearly a third of the nation — who are living at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, for whom even a short-term illness, loss of income, or emergency expense can be insurmountable. Produced with the support of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, in partnership with Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California, the report shows that even with low unemployment, economic insecurity is growing rapidly. Since 2000, the population living below 200 percent of poverty has grown by 25 million — more than twice as fast as the nation’s population growth overall. In addition to nuanced data on who is economically insecure in America, the report offers bold policies that organizers, policymakers, business leaders, and others can pursue to her foster a more inclusive and equitable economy. Download the report and fact sheet.
December 5, 2018
While Louisiana’s economy has improved in recent years, people of color are still disproportionately represented among the state’s economically insecure. Men of color face particular barriers to employment due to discrimination and gaps in work-based skills. If full employment was achieved across all gender and racial groups, Louisiana's economy could be $3.5 billion stronger each year. Investing in men of color and critical education and training systems for Louisiana’s workforce will shift the state toward a course for greater prosperity for all. This brief is the fifth and final in a series about employment equity in the South (following analyses produced for Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina) based on data analysis and modeling of a “full-employment economy” (defined as when everyone who wants a job can find one), which was conducted by the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Louisiana Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet.
June 20, 2018
North Carolina has the second largest rural population in the country, with one in three residents living in rural areas. Rural North Carolinians face higher levels of unemployment and poverty than their urban counterparts, and earn lower incomes. Changing this situation and achieving employment equity — when everyone who wants to work has access to a job that pays family-supporting wages and the lack of a good job cannot be predicted by race, gender, or geography — is crucial to the economic future of not only rural North Carolina, but that of the entire state. This is the second of five briefs about employment equity in southern states co-produced by PolicyLink and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This report was released in partnership with Rural Forward NC and the NC Budget & Tax Center. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet.
Media: James Crowder of PolicyLink Discusses Employment Equity in Rural North Carolina (NC Policy Watch), They Want Full-time Work. They’re Getting Temp Jobs. (The News & Observer)
May 22, 2018
While economic insecurity is a widespread challenge for an increasing number of Mississippians, women and people of color are disproportionately represented among the economically insecure. This brief highlights how employment equity is essential to the state's future. If full employment was achieved across all gender and racial groups, Mississippi's economy could be $2.5 billion stronger each year. Investing in women and in critical support systems for Mississippi’s workforce will disrupt Mississippi’s current pattern of economic exclusion and place the state on a course to greater prosperity for all. The report is the third of five briefs about employment equity in southern states based on data analysis and modeling of a “full-employment economy” (defined as when everyone who wants a job can find one), which was conducted by the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet.
Media: Analysis: Pay Gap and Cost of Child Care Create Obstacles (The Washington Times, Miami Herald), Study: Full Employment Across Racial, Gender Lines Would Boost Economy (Mississippi Public Broadcasting), What's Holding Mississippi Back? Pay Gap, Child Care Costs, Report Says (Clarion-Ledger), Initiative Looking to Help Low Income Mothers Find Better Jobs (Jackson’s WJTV)
April 10, 2018
This report presents new data and analyses that illustrate how rising rents and stagnant incomes are straining household budgets and stifling opportunity in the nine-county Bay Area, jeopardizing the region’s diversity, growth, and prosperity. The twin forces of a housing shortage — particularly affordable housing — and uneven wage growth have created a regional crisis that hinders opportunity, growth, and prosperity for families and businesses alike. Though the housing crisis is far-reaching, it has hit low-income communities of color the hardest. Considering people of color are driving population growth in the region, these racial inequities pose a serious threat to the Bay Area’s future. The report was developed as part of the Bay Area Equity Atlas, a partnership between PolicyLink, The San Francisco Foundation, and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California (PERE) that is working to create a regional platform designed to provide data and serve those who are seeking to advance solutions at a local and regional scale. Download the report here.
Media: Housing Is Key to Bay Area's Economic Future, Study Finds (Philanthropy News Digest), New Report Examines the Bay Area's Broken Housing Market (Planetizen), World Journal
April 5, 2018
850,000 of Alabama's working-age adults are economically insecure and struggling to find good jobs: jobs that pay enough to support a family, offer safe working conditions, and provide meaningful opportunities to move up the economic ladder. Advancing Employment Equity in Alabama describes why employment equity — when everyone who wants a job can find one — is critical to Alabama's economic future and offers a policy roadmap to achieve employment equity. It is based on data analysis and modeling of a "full-employment economy" as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Alabama Asset Building Coalition. With full employment for all, Alabama's economy would be $3.9 billion stronger every year. However, to realize these gains, state leaders must be willing to eliminate barriers to employment through efforts such as expanding public transportation options, banning the box on criminal background checks, and supporting the growth of minority- and women-owned business enterprises. This is the second of five briefs about employment equity in southern states co-produced by PolicyLink, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, and local partners with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet "Employment Equity: The Path to a More Competitive Alabama."
November 28, 2017
Georgia’s economically insecure working-age adults are struggling to find good jobs: jobs that pay enough to support a family, offer safe working conditions, and provide meaningful opportunities to move up the economic ladder. This brief describes why employment equity — when everyone who wants a job can find one — is critical to Georgia’s economic future and lays out a policy roadmap to achieve employment equity. It is based on data analysis and modeling of a “full-employment economy” as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Partnership for Southern Equity. This is the first of five briefs about employment equity in southern states co-produced by PolicyLink, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, and local partners with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet "Employment Equity: The Path to a More Competitive Georgia."
When Renters Rise, Cities Thrive: National and City Fact Sheets
September 13, 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 Action occurring September 18-24 and in partnership with Right to the City, Homes for All, and Carsonwatch, 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 view our press release. Join the action on social media at #RenterWeekofAction and #RenterNation.
You can also download fact sheets for the following cities: Alameda, Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Bowling Green (KY), Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Durham, El Paso, Jackson, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Lynn (MA), Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, Newark, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, Reno, Rochester, San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, Seattle, Spokane, Springfield (MA), St. Paul, Washington DC.
Media: Here’s What U.S. Cities Gain If Housing Is Affordable (Next City); If Rent Were Affordable, the Average Household Would Save $6,200 a Year (CityLab); L.A.'s Housing Crisis Is Now the Nation's Housing Crisis (LA Weekly); #RenterWeekOfAction Addresses Nationwide Housing Crisis (Colorlines); ‘Renter Week’ Brings Protests to Corporate Landlord and HUD Offices (The Progressive); "Renter Week of Action" calls attention to housing crisis (The Baltimore Sun), N.O. Council Bars Most New, Renewed Short-term Rentals — For Now (Gambit), Governor John Bel Edwards Vetoes Senate Bill 462 (The Greater New Orleans Housing Alliance)
September 13, 2017
Online data tools hold tremendous power to amplify community efforts to advance health equity through policy and systems change. In the spirit of nurturing the growing equity data field and contributing to its evolution, this report, developed in partnership with Ecotrust, offers up a set of 10 design principles for online data tools intended to spur health equity action. The principles include addressing the root causes of health inequities, disaggregating data, and honoring indigenous data sovereignty. For the full list and examples of each principle, download the report here.
September 6, 2017
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. If predominantly white seniors choose not to invest in a more racially diverse young population, this could hamstring the development of the next generation and the nation's economic future. This 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. Given this relationship, it is critical to ensure equitable school funding, invest in youth beyond school, and build multi-generational communities and coalitions for change. Download the brief or data.
Media: Future of America's Baby Boomers Depends on Our Diverse Youth (The Hill), America's 'Racial Generation Gap' Is Starting to Shrink (The Atlantic)
January 31, 2017
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.
Media: Race, Place, and Jobs: Reducing Employment Inequality in America’s Metros (Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity)
August 10, 2015
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. Download the fact sheets and methodology here. (Download detailed methodological appendix here).
Media: This is How Protesters Plan to Take on the Federal Reserve (Wonkblog)
October 22, 2014
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.
Media: How Racial Equity Can Make Cities Richer (CityLab), What the U.S. Economy Would Look Like if Racial Inequality Didn’t Exist (WonkBlog), Eliminating Racial Income Gaps Would Boost GDP By $2.1 Trillion (National Journal), Why Racial Equality Is Good for the Economy, in One Chart (News.Mic)
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.
March 1, 2012
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.
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.