In many counties, income inequality and the class divide mean that on average, Whites are lower-performing and overall racial disparity is smaller. Hence, many counties in California have relatively lower disparities when it comes to economic opportunity, but this can risk painting too optimistic a picture. In Marin County and parts of the Bay Area, disparities tend to be within the context of high prosperity being inequitably distributed. Fresno County, meanwhile, much like other parts of the Central Valley often has low performance on these indicators. While some racial groups are doing comparatively better in Fresno, this masks the need for concerted action to create broader economic opportunity for all—such as regional and statewide campaigns to increase wages and invest in jobs and education.
Families of color are at a significant disadvantage compared to White families, who have accumulated wealth over generations due to racial discrimination in employment, housing discrimination and government services.
Community based advocates across the state are working towards the elimination of disparities in our job markets, capital markets, and wealth accumulation. Notably, there are efforts underway to close some of the most egregious corporate loopholes in Proposition 13, which benefit older, larger companies at the expense of homeowners and entrepreneurs. If successful, these policy changes would empower currently revenue-starved local governments to make significant investments in their communities’ future. Business leaders, local governments, and local advocates can also partner to create economic development plans aimed at creating employment opportunities for local residents.
Different industries have largely failed to meet the needs of diverse racial groups in spite of legal advancements to provide de jure equal opportunity for all workers.