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Disrupting the Drivers of Inequity in Biloxi: Assessing Federal Opportunity Zones

March 1, 2020

As wages have stagnated for the majority of workers in the U.S. and inequality has skyrocketed, racial inequity has grown. Since the late 1970s, the racial wealth gap has reached critical levels. In Biloxi, Mississippi, the inequities are deep, leaving many Black and Latinx households facing racial and geographic barriers to economic opportunity. Yet, communities of color have been driving the city's population growth and spurring change and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This diversity can be a tremendous economic asset for the city if people of color are fully included as workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Knowing where the city stands in terms of equity—just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential—is the first This research brief draws from data in the National Equity Atlas—an online resource for data to track, measure, and make the case for inclusive growth in America's cities, regions, states, and nationwide.The USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) provides forward-looking, actionable research to support community-based organizations, funders, and other stakeholders working towards social, racial, economic and environmental justice. James Crowder Jr. and Justin Scoggins March 2020 2 step in planning for a brighter future for all Biloxians. To that end, the East Biloxi Community Collaborative (EBCC) partnered with the National Equity Atlas, a partnership between PolicyLink and the University of Southern California Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE), to better understand the landscape for inclusive growth in the city, particularly given the new Opportunity Zone program which has the potential to bring a significant amount of private investment into the city. This brief describes Opportunity Zones and how they can be leveraged to promote equitable development in East Biloxi.

Race and the Work of the Future: Advancing Workforce Equity in the United States

January 1, 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, massive job losses, rapidly evolving business models, and accelerating technological change are dramatically reshaping the US economy. This report, produced in partnership with Burning Glass Technologies and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, provides a comprehensive analysis of long-standing racial gaps in labor market outcomes, the economic impacts of Covid-19, and the racial equity implications of automation. It provides an in-depth analysis of disaggregated equity indicators and labor market dynamics, finding that White workers are 50 percent more likely than workers of color to hold good jobs and that eliminating racial inequities in income could boost the US economy by $2.3 trillion a year. In addition to detailed data analysis on the state of racial inequities in jobs and opportunity, the report offers a bold framework for action to advance workforce equity, where racial income gaps have been eliminated, all jobs are good jobs, and everyone who wants to work has access to family-supporting employment.

Advancing Employment Equity in Rural North Carolina

June 1, 2018

This brief describes why employment equity in rural North Carolina is critical to the state's economic future and lays out a policy roadmap to achieving employment equity. This roadmap is based on data analysis and modeling of a "full-employmentfor-all economy" (defined as an economy in which everyone who wants a job can find one) that was conducted by the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink, Rural Forward, and the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center.

Boosting Economic Growth in Mississippi through Employment Equity

May 1, 2018

This brief describes why employment equity is critical to Mississippi's economic future and lays out a policy roadmap toachieve employment equity. It is based on data analysis and modeling of a "full-employment economy" (defined as when everyone who wants a job can find one), which was conducted by the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, and on policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI).

An Equity Profile of Sunflower County

June 1, 2017

This document presents an equity analysis of Sunflower County, Mississippi. It was developed to support local community groups, elected officials, planners, business leaders, funders, and others working to build a stronger and more equitable city.

An Equity Profile of Jackson

May 1, 2017

This document presents an equity analysis of Jackson, Mississippi. It was developed to support local community groups, elected officials, planners, business leaders, funders, and others working to build a stronger and more equitable city.

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).

Citizen Gain: The Economic Benefits of Naturalization for Immigrants and the Economy

December 6, 2012

Citizenship brings many benefits to immigrants, the opportunity to participate more fully in our democracy through the right to vote being primary among them. But beyond the clear civic gain is an often overlooked economic benefit: for a variety of reasons, naturalized immigrants are likely to see a boost in their family incomes that can benefit their children, their communities and the nation as a whole.Why is the economic importance of naturalization -- the process by which immigrants become citizens -- so often overlooked? Part of the reason is that much of the heated debate around the economic effects of immigration in the U.S. tends to focus on the unauthorized (or "illegal") population. The economic evidence in this arena points in multiple directions -- positive gains at an aggregate level, negative effects on specific sectors of the labor market, mixed impacts on government coffers -- but lost in that discussion is the fact that nearly three-fourths of all immigrants are either naturalized citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), those who have legal status and may be eligible to naturalize but have not yet done so. What would happen if those individuals who were eligible to naturalize actually chose to do so? How much would their economic situation improve -- and what would be the effects on the overall economy? If such gains are possible, how could policymakers help to encourage even higher rates of naturalization? In this policy brief, SIIS tackles these questions by combining individual-level data from the Census Bureau's 2010 Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) with the most recent data on the number of LPRs eligible to naturalize from the U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS). This brief begins with a review of the literature, drawing out both theory and evidence on why naturalization might be associated with a higher earnings trajectory. The authors then discuss the data used and the regression models developed; and make a number of choices along the way to insure that the estimates presented here are as conservative as possible. The brief then discuss how the wage trajectory might change over time -- benefits would actually accrue over a number of years -- and then examines the possible impacts on aggregate earnings and the overall economy.The brief concludes with a discussion of the policy implications, particularly how these benefits might be made clear to those who have not yet naturalized and how new financial and other vehicles could be used to induce higher levels of naturalization.

All Together Now? African Americans, Immigrants, and California's Future

September 19, 2011

Examines trends in areas where African Americans and immigrants live together and the potential for building alliances to address tensions created by demographic and economic shifts and organizing together for social justice and community improvement.

Minding The Climate Gap: What's at Stake if California's Climate Law isn't Done Right and Right Away

April 15, 2010

Minding the Climate Gap: What's at Stake if California's Climate Law isn't Done Right and Right Away details how incentivizing the reduction of greenhouse gases -- which cause climate change -- from facilities operating in the most polluted neighborhoods could generate major public health benefits. The study also details how revenues generated from charging polluters could be used to improve air quality and create jobs in the neighborhoods that suffer from the dirtiest air. In California, children in poverty, together with all people in poverty, live disproportionately near large facilities emitting toxic air pollution and greenhouse gases.People of color in the state experience over seventy percent more of the dangerous pollution coming from major greenhouse gas polluters as whites, and the disparity is particularly sharp for African Americans. The racial differential in proximity to pollution is not just a function of income: people of color are more likely to live near these polluting facilities than whites with similar incomes. Continuing to move forward with California's climate law presents the opportunity to save lives and bolster California's economy by focusing pollution reductions in neighborhoods suffering the worst public health impacts.

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.