Economic Opportunity

What we found:

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.


Why this issue matters for racial equity?

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.


Policy levers:

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.

Key Takeaways

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Cost-of-Living-Adjusted Poverty
In California, 76.2% of non-Latinx White households earn incomes above the cost-of-living-adjusted poverty rate, compared to 42.8% of Latinx households.
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Business Owners
For every 1,000 Asians in California, 26 own businesses; the highest rate among racial groups.
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Representation in Management
Statewide, non-Latinx Whites roughly twice as likely as non-Latinx Blacks, American Indian/Alaska Natives, non-Latinx Pacific Islanders and Latinxs to be in employed as an official or manager.
01 of 7 key issues

Economic Opportunity

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.

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