Pockets of Prestige

At the closeout of January 2015, Forbes published an article listing the Top 10 Cities for African Americans.  Looking at America’s 52 largest metropolitan areas, rankings were based upon home ownership, entrepreneurship, median household income, and demographic trends. Although listing 10 different cities, the areas listed only covered seven states: Georgia, North Carolina, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Texas.

As a current resident of a large metropolitan area, I was interested in researching the top 10 suburbs for African Americans.  Finding an article published on Atlanta Blackstar relatively one year ago, I delved into 10 of the Richest Black Communities in America.  Of the communities listed, two were located in the state of New York, three in California, and the remaining five in Maryland.

Named as the top three cities for African Americans, the 2010 Census lists Atlanta, GA as 54% Black or African American, Raleigh, NC as 29.3% and Washington, DC as 49.5%. The percentage of black-owned firms was listed as 30.9%, 15.6% and 28.2% respectively. The District of Columbia and Maryland were listed as the first and third wealthiest states in America in 2014 by Forbes.

My initial reaction, given the statistics listed above, was that it stood to reason that blacks in DC and Maryland were doing better than the rest, but as I gave the articles and data more thought, a blaring reality came to the surface. Black wealth is highly concentrated.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis lists a two percent growth in the fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product for 2014 and a higher personal income for citizens relative to the past two years.  Given the rise and rebuilding of the U.S. economy, the question becomes will black wealth always be confined? A majority of black Americans migrated to the areas in which they currently reside because they heard and were told that jobs, opportunities and love were available to them.  They were told that success was a given in the certain states, cities and surrounding communities.  Like those that fled the Jim Crow south, black Americans went to a place of freedom, though in this case the freedom at stake was economic.

African Americans are currently making more money than they ever have in the past, but the transfer of financial gain to wealth is not always clear, present or easy.  Nonetheless, I am eager to see how the rise in personal gain and economic status overall will influence the pockets of black wealth in America.

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