City Paper is not for tourists
In the wake of that study on segregation from the Manhattan Institute, here’s the Urban Institute’s report on black-white inequality in metropolitan areas. The top is Albuquerque, the bottom is Milwaukee. At Atlantic Cities, Ben Adler is somewhat critical of the results, and points out that the “best” cities for equality are also more affluent areas that don’t have very many black people. She notes that macroeconomics are at play here:
Just a cursory glance is enough to see that this ranking has nothing to do with the particulars of social policy in any of these regions or their various composite jurisdictions. Rather, the best cities for black-white equity are all in the Sun Belt, and they are mostly in the West.
The worst are all in the Northeast or Upper Midwest. Broadly speaking, the metro areas in the better performing regions also tend to have smaller populations, while the worst include some of the biggest cities in the country, such as New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. This data is really comparing regions rather than specific cities or metropolitan areas.
The D.C. metro area outperforms many of its northern neighbors, landing smack in the middle of the rankings, at #50, with a grade of “C’ for equality. Though the city itself has a pretty stark disparity, the ranking isn’t exactly a surprise: The suburbs of D.C. have plenty of affluent black people who skew the curve upward. The South in general is also better for equality—presumably because everyone there is poor together.