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Sacramento’s In A Renaissance, But Minorities Aren’t Seeing The Benefits

  

Latino workers in Sacramento make $9 less per hour than their white counterparts, and African-American workers make $7 less, according to a new region-specific analysis of state and federal data.

This finding comes amid continued excitement about urban development and growth in the city. Community advocates say it’s crucial to stay focused on minority groups that are falling behind.

People of color will make up the majority of Sacramento’s population in just a few years, and new data indicates they aren’t getting the same opportunities as their white peers.

A report from the University of Southern California, the Healthy Sacramento Coalition, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Oakland-based research group PolicyLink looked at economic disparities in the Sacramento region. Sacramento was one of five areas nationally chosen for the analysis.

Here are some of the numbers:

  • Sacramento’s gross domestic product would have been more than $19 billion higher in 2014 if workers across all ethnic groups made equal wages

  • 41 percent of Latino homeowners pay more than a third of their income on housing costs, compared to 32 percent of white homeowners

  • 42 percent of black residents without a high school diploma are unemployed, compared to just a quarter of white residents with the same background

More than 40 community organizations met to discuss the report this week. Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Supervisor Phil Serna attended the unveiling.

Steinberg said that excitement about Sacramento’s “renaissance” needs to be driven by “an inclusive economic agenda.” He referenced Lady Bird and the Golden 1 Center, but asked, “as we create the jobs of the 21st century here in Sacramento, the real question is, ‘Will our kids from our lower income neighborhoods be educated and trained and first in line for those jobs?’”

The 125-page report drew on a dozen data sources including the Census Bureau, The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the state’s Employment Development Department.

An accompanying document written by PolicyLink and USC recommends solutions to amplify racial and economic equity, such as protecting residents from eviction, raising the minimum wage, increasing youth programs, expanding public transit and reducing mass incarceration of minorities.

Stephanie Bray is co-chairwoman of the Healthy Sacramento Coalition, a policy group that helped produce the report. She says the data should be a wake-up call for officials.

“Whether it’s around housing, health care, education, mental health services employment that they look at their decisions through this equity lens, that’s backed up by data, that tells us where the opportunities are in each of those areas,” she said.

 

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