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The Equity Solution: Racial Inclusion Is Key to Growing a Strong New Economy

October 22, 2014

America is quickly becoming a majority people of color nation. At the same time, inequality is skyrocketing and racial inequities—from the homogeneity of the tech sector to the segregated suburbs of St. Louis—are wide, persistent, and glaring. Equity—just and fair inclusion of all—has always been a moral imperative in this country, but a new consensus is emerging that equity is also an economic imperative. Scores of economists and institutions like Standard & Poor's and Morgan Stanley now believe that rising inequality and low wages for workers on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder are stifling growth and competitiveness, and that racial inequities threaten economic growth and prosperity as people of color become the majority.This brief offers new research to inform the debate about equity and the future of the American economy. Using data on income by race, we calculate what total earnings and economic output would have been for the nation in 2012 if racial differences were eliminated and all groups had similar average incomes as non-Hispanic whites. This analysis does not assume that everyone has the same income, rather that the income distributions do not differ by race and ethnicity. We also examine how much of the income gap is attributable to wage differences versus employment differences (measured by hours worked).

Fostering Equitable Foreclosure Recovery

January 1, 2012

This report provides essential information to inform policy discussions about foreclosure recovery. It presents information about the foreclosure crisis and its consequences, describes the federal program created to help communities recover from the impacts of foreclosures, shares case studies of foreclosure recovery efforts in three regions in the Northwest -- Minneapolis-St. Paul, Portland, and Seattle -- and suggests policy recommendations for ensuring equitable recovery.

The Economic Benefits of Immigrant Authorization in California

January 11, 2010

The USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) estimates that California would eventually benefit from Latino immigrant legalization by $16 billion annually. This would work towards fixing our budget crisis and restoring our safety net programs cut by the state last August. During this period of economic struggle and budget woes, California has a lot to gain from a national legalization policy. The report entitled "The Economic Benefits of Immigrant Authorization in California" measures the benefits that would accrue to the state and the nation if the currently unauthorized Latino workforce in California were legalized. CSII researchers used a conservative economic model that accounts for the wage "penalty" incurred by the undocumented, assumes a very slow increase in English skills and educational levels, and does not account for gains from future migration. Despite this conservative modeling, the report finds that significant immediate and long-term benefits would accrue not only to affected workers, but to the state and nation overall.

Justice in the Air: Tracking Toxic Pollution from America's Industries and Companies to Add to Our States, Cities, and Neighborhoods

April 28, 2009

This new environmental justice study examines not only who receives the disproportionate share of toxic air releases -- low-income communities and people of color -- but who is releasing them.Justice in the Air: Tracking Toxic Pollution from America's Industries and Companies to Our States, Cities, and Neighborhoods uses the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory and Risk Screening Environmental Indicators to explore the demographics of those who are most affected by toxic pollution, and then establishes the corporate ownership of the plants responsible. Justice in the Air enhances the data available in PERI's Toxic 100 Report with a new environmental justice scorecard, ranking the Toxic 100 companies by the share of their health impacts from toxic air pollution that falls upon minority and low-income communities. The authors conclude by recommending four ways the right-to-know and environmental justice movements can use these findings in their efforts to protect the health of vulnerable communities.