What makes a place livable for whom?
January 10, 2020 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Livability indexes can obscure the experiences of non-white people. CityLab and sociologist Junia Howell analyzed the outcomes just for black women, for a different kind of livability ranking.

"Of course, no ranking should obscure the fact that there is no city doing complete justice to black women’s lives. According to “The Status of Black Women in the United States” report (pdf), produced by The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, black women overall saw their median annual earnings decline by 5 percent between 2004 and 2014 despite the fact that the share of black women with at least a bachelor’s degree increased by 23.9 percent in that same time period. Today, black women earn roughly 61 cents for every dollar made by white men across the nation."

...

"It can’t be stressed enough that these rankings don’t necessarily reflect the lived experiences of black women working, going to school, and just breathing in these cities. Sherrell Dorsey, a black woman who is the founder and president of BLKTECHCLT, a tech hub for innovators of color in Charlotte, has lived and worked in several of the cities on the list. She says these kinds of rankings fail to consider issues such as the lack of access to capital for black women entrepreneurs—and the kind of occupational segregation that pushes black women into less lucrative workforce sectors compared to white men."
posted by ChuraChura (11 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was shocked to see that Minneapolis was above the median overall for black women, despite Minnesota having one of the largest racial disparities between white people and people of color.
posted by dinty_moore at 1:18 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]


Going into this article I had figured Atlanta would be a bit higher on most of those lists but was surprised to see that it wasn't. Thanks for posting this.
posted by jquinby at 1:22 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


disappointed and not surprised to see philadelphia so far down the list in all categories.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 2:27 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]


I was shocked to see that Minneapolis was above the median overall for black women, despite Minnesota having one of the largest racial disparities between white people and people of color.

Yeah, me too. I wonder if it's just the fact that this is a well-enough run city in a well-enough run state that it lifts everyone's experiences even though by no means equally. We also have a lot of public sector employment, relatively speaking, and a lot of health care sector employment, and unionized/public workplaces are better for people of color generally.

One of the big reasons the GOP hates government and public education jobs is that they're dished out relatively fairly and you get promoted/get raises relatively equally, which means that Black people can rise in the ranks. I'm in a union job, and every time I hear someone carping about how the wage increases are determined by contract, I think about how much I'd rather have a guaranteed though not exorbitant annual increase that's given to everyone than some manager sharing it out to whoever he likes best and writing his justifications to match. Actually, one of my co-unionists was saying that she'd left a better paying and higher-status non-union job for the one she has now because there was less racism.

Anyway, Minneapolis really needs to get our police under control and fix the school system (there's some plan in the works that a teacher friend says is mostly an excuse to cut jobs although it's being framed as about equity).

And housing segregation, I wish we had less of that. I was back visiting family in Illinois recently, and they live a couple of the most unsegregated towns in the state, and I have to say that the climate was a lot better there. There are still things I love about Minneapolis, but segregation poisons a lot.
posted by Frowner at 3:06 PM on January 10 [10 favorites]


Sent to my 14 y/o niece for long horizon thinking.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:14 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]


The ranking that’s really boggling my mind is Boston’s. Really???
posted by praemunire at 8:01 PM on January 10


I think the point there is ... "It can’t be stressed enough that these rankings don’t necessarily reflect the lived experiences of black women working, going to school, and just breathing in these cities." We need better metrics, if this is how we're going to measure things, that better capture lived experiences. This is as good a start as any, I guess.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:29 PM on January 10 [5 favorites]


I would like to see a longer article about the Should I Stay argument, in light of the evidence that no place is all that great. More to the point, if it is not the metrics as shown, just what is it that keeps people in a given place? I'd guess that there are gendered and racial dimensions that count, and which should be built into any livability index.
posted by rustipi at 3:25 AM on January 11


This is interesting to read. Similarly, I wonder how different all those "best places to retire" lists would be if race was considered as a factor.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:53 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Was hoping for a crime victimization ranking as well.
posted by xigxag at 6:55 AM on January 11


The public sector here is key: Government is the second-largest employer of black women overall (and the largest for black men), and the DMV region has the densest concentration of federal government jobs in the nation.

Not a coincidence that Republicans always want to starve the government.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 8:38 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


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