Friday, December 7, 2018

Capitol Fax: Hard times are driving African-Americans away from Chicago area

Sorry to have missed this yesterday. The CapFax discusses a study and a column by Crain's Greg Hinz regarding why Blacks are leaving the Chicagoland area.
For instance, while the unemployment rate in the region dropped from 9 to 7.6 percent overall, among blacks it dipped just four-tenths of a percentage point, or 0.4 percent. That's significantly smaller than the drops among Latinos, Asians and non-Hispanic whites, even though the unemployment rate was and remains far higher among blacks, more than 17 percent.

Similarly, median household income among blacks is still off nearly a tenth—9.4 percent—among blacks. In comparison, among whites, the drop was 1.5 percentage points; among Hispanics, 4.2 percentage points, with Asians gaining a bit. And while the drop-off in labor force participation rates was smallest among blacks in the 2010-17 period compared to other groups, blacks already had and still have the lowest rate, with just over 60 percent holding a job or actively looking for one.

The result: African-Americans are leaving, while the population of whites, Latinos and Asians is up, if only modestly so. Those findings had been previously reported, but in its new report CMAP breaks it out by those with and without jobs, and some of the data is eyebrow-raising.

Among non-Hispanic whites, Asians and Latinos age 16 to 64, a clear majority of 53 percent to 64 percent, respectively, of those leaving the region already hold jobs. But among blacks, only 42 percent are employed. The remaining 58 percent of those moving either are unemployed or out of the workforce and not looking at all.

CMAP Associate Policy Analyst Aseal Tineh said there could be various reasons for the latter distinctions, such as more rapid aging among white residents. But overall, it's likely that African-Americans here are having a harder time finding jobs, and a harder time getting jobs that pay well, she said. Beyond that, the report itself notes previous research that black commuters tend to have a longer trip to work than other area residents.
The question is what can we do about it?

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