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Bringing Zoning into Focus: A Fine-Grained Analysis of Zoning’s Relationships to Housing Affordability, Income Distributions, and Segregation in Connecticut

June 6, 2023

For more than a century, local governments throughout the United States have used zoning to shape future growth. Through rules that regulate what sorts of housing can be built where, localities may either allow for new development or restrict construction to maintain the status quo. Using a first-of-its-kind database of zoning laws across an entire state, we provide evidence that strict zoning regulations limiting construction to single-family homes are associated with inadequate access to affordable housing and with the segregation of people by income, race, and ethnicity.We leverage the Connecticut Zoning Atlas, a unique dataset of zoning texts tied to geospatial files that allow for georeferenced comparisons between the zoning laws adopted by 180 localities. We overlay the geographies of zoning districts on spatially differentiated demographic and economic indicators at the neighborhood level. Analyzing and comparing this information allows us to provide a comprehensive view of the relationships between zoning laws, property values, and residents' demographic and economic characteristics.Our research focuses on a state with stark disparities in residential land uses: only 2 percent of Connecticut's land is zoned to allow the by-right construction of multifamily buildings with three or more units per parcel, while 91 percent of its land allows only the construction of single-family housing by right. Our analysis reveals that suburbs and towns have the most restrictive zoning rules by several measures, while the largest cities more readily permit multifamily construction. We show that the residents of neighborhoods with mostly single-family zoning, on average, have significantly higher household incomes and are much more likely to be white, much less likely to be Black or Hispanic, more likely to have a bachelor's degree, and much more likely to own their homes than residents of neighborhoods where zoning allows for multifamily building construction. These findings paint a picture of a state where localities' zoning either divides or reinforces the division of residents by income, race, ethnicity, and education levels. We also apply a segregation index to explore the associations between zoning rules and neighborhood- and locality-level segregation. After controlling for other characteristics, we find that higher concentrations of high-income and white residents are associated with lower number-of-unit zoning policies. We also find that higher concentrations of low-income, Black, Hispanic, and other residents of color are associated with zoning allowing the construction of two or more housing units per parcel and higher shares of renter-occupied housing.Together, these findings bring new insight into the relationship between zoning policy and residents' geographic distribution. Our results clearly point to the links between zoning laws, rental housing availability, and inequitable distributions of populations within and across jurisdictions. Policymakers considering how to improve access to opportunity while reducing income or racial segregation should evaluate the potential for altering local zoning codes to allow greater diversity of housing construction and tenure types in more places.

Medication abortion among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders: Knowledge, access, and attitudes

May 30, 2023

Almost no research to date examines abortion attitudes and knowledge among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) in the U.S. While previous research shows lower rates of abortion among Asian women compared to other racial ethnic groups, abortion rates vary by subgroups when disaggregating data by ethnicity or country of origin. In addition, no literature currently exists documenting AANHPI experiences with and/or use of medication abortion (MA).To help address this research gap, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF), in partnership with Ibis Reproductive Health, conducted a two-year study examining AANHPI people's knowledge of, access to, and attitudes about abortion, with a specific focus on medication abortion. While medication abortion accounts for over half of all abortions in the U.S., participants in this study described limited knowledge of abortion methods, including medication abortion.Our study identified a range of barriers to medication abortion. For AANHPI communities, this includes community stigma towards abortion and sexual and reproductive health (SRH), a lack of family support, and the unavailability of language support for limited-English or non-English speaking patients at abortion clinics. Other barriers included the high cost of abortion care, lack of insurance coverage, limited appointment availability, lack of transportation, legal restrictions, longer wait times at the clinic, and protesters outside of clinics.The taboo nature of SRH topics, including abortion, in addition to the general lack of openness among AANHPI community members impacts access to information and services related to their reproductive health. There is an overall need to provide accurate and culturally relevant information about all abortion methods to AANHPI communities to help bridge information gaps and overcome barriers to access. 

Understanding Training and Workforce Pathways to Develop and Retain Black Maternal Health Clinicians in California

May 16, 2023

Despite evidence that greater diversity in health professions increases quality of care, the maternal health field has made little progress on increasing and sustaining the number of Black maternal health care workers. In this study, Urban researchers examine opportunities for and barriers to increasing the workforce of Black obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYNs), labor and delivery (L&D) nurses, and midwives, especially in light of the ongoing US maternal health crisis. Through interviews with Black maternal health clinicians and training program staff, we recommend actions that federal and state policymakers, leaders at higher education and health system institutions, and philanthropies can take to address structural barriers to entering and staying within the field and to support a thriving workforce.

Wealth Opportunities Realized Through Homeownership (WORTH): Baseline Report

May 15, 2023

This report is part of an evaluation of the Wealth Opportunities Realized through Homeownership (WORTH) initiative. Led by the Wells Fargo Foundation, WORTH supports efforts to close persistent disparities in homeownership in Atlanta, Houston, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Diego, and rural and tribal areas. In each market, we examine housing supply and demand, homebuying activity, homeownership trends, and preservation conditions. We found that in almost every market, white households have higher homeownership rates than every other racial or ethnic group. Moreover, macroeconomic forces driving market conditions, like higher interest rates and moderating house prices, can significantly dampen or thwart market collaboratives' efforts to boost homeownership rates for people of color. Future evaluation will examine the implementation processes used in each market. The larger body of work contributes to understanding the crucial connection between homeownership and wealth-building and the multitude of barriers that households of color face in achieving homeownership. It also supports research-backed strategies for increasing homeownership for households of color and for reducing racial disparities.

Diverse Cultures and Shared Experiences Shape Asian American Identities

May 8, 2023

Pew Research Center conducted this analysis to understand the rich diversity of people of Asian origin or ancestry living in the United States and their views of identity. The study is part of the Center's multiyear, comprehensive, in-depth quantitative and qualitative research effort focused on the nation's Asian population. Its centerpiece is this nationally representative survey of 7,006 Asian adults exploring the experiences, attitudes and views of Asians living in the U.S. The survey sampled U.S. adults who self-identify as Asian, either alone or in combination with other races or Hispanic ethnicity. It was offered in six languages: Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), English, Hindi, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Responses were collected from July 5, 2022, to Jan. 27, 2023, by Westat on behalf of Pew Research Center.

Philanthropy and HBCUs: Foundation funding to historically Black colleges and universities

May 2, 2023

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have played a central—if underappreciated—role in the United States. The earliest HBCUs were founded before the legal enslavement of Black people ended. Since then, they have been critical in educating Black people, developing Black leaders, and addressing inequality. Although researchers have studied the government's role in financing HBCUs, there has been little research on private philanthropic support. This report seeks to fill that gap by examining U.S. foundation funding to HBCUs and exploring the relationship between foundations and HBCUs. Through quantitative analysis leveraging Candid's comprehensive grants data and qualitative interviews with HBCU staff, students and funders, this report strives to understand the philanthropic funding patterns and experiences of HBCUs.

STAATUS Index 2023: Attitudes towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

May 2, 2023

The annual  Social Tracking of Asian Americans in the U.S. (STAATUS) Index is the leading study on perceptions and attitudes towards the AAPI community.In our third year, we are starting to see how Americans' views of Asian Americans are changing.Findings from STAATUS over the last three years show that we cannot attribute the anti-Asian sentiment in our country to political rhetoric and the COVID-19 pandemic alone. Racism against AAPIs is deeply embedded in American history, culture, and institutions and continues to be on the rise.

In Every County, Across All Budget Lines: White Overrepresentation in New York City’s Nonprofit Leadership

April 26, 2023

Nonprofit New York, Candid, SeaChange Capital Partners, and Thomas Economic Policy and Data Consulting, with the support of Robin Hood, conducted a comprehensive assessment in 2022 of the current leadership demographics of the nonprofit sector in New York City using demographic data from nonprofit organizations' Candid nonprofit profiles. This report seeks to establish updated baseline data to inform our understanding of racial and other demographic representation within nonprofit leadership in the New York City area. Eight New York counties are included in the analysis, including Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties.Our research questions include:What are ways for determining BIPOC-led, as defined by BIPOC communities?What are the current racial, gender, sexual orientation, and (dis)ability demographics of nonprofit sector leaders in New York City?How do the demographics of New York City's nonprofit sector compare to the total population? How do the demographics of New York City's nonprofit sector compare to low-income New Yorkers?How are leadership demographics reflected in various nonprofit subsectors, including poverty alleviating organizations, and organizational sizes?Is there a relationship between the demographic makeup of an organization's leadership and its financial position?This report used a participatory research design to inform our definitions and data analysis. The project sought the perspective, expertise, and thought partnership from Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) nonprofit associations, BIPOC-led poverty-alleviating organizations, nonprofit racial justice researchers, and BIPOC-identified nonprofit capacity builders.

Industry Actions for Racial Equity –Investment Management

April 25, 2023

This workplace transformation guide considers the state of racial equity, diversity and inclusion (REDI) for the investment management industry and shares insights, actions, common pitfalls and examples from leading organizations that are part of the Expanding Equity (EE) program network. The guide recommends actions companies can take, organized by the four pillars – or areas of opportunity – of the EE program, where the investment management industry can advance REDI, including a mini-case study from a peer company:Attract – Attracting and hiring professionals of color into the company to increase representation at all levels of the organizationCase study from Värde Partners on creating entry-level pathwaysBelong – Ensuring that all professionals, regardless of racial/ethnic group identity, feel respected and can be successfulCase study from KKR on launching an inclusion network and expanding an Inclusion & Diversity CouncilPromote - Ensuring that professionals of color feel supported and have the same advancement opportunities as White professionalsCase study from BlackRock on implementing a sponsorship program for Black and Latinx managing directors and directorsInfluence – Advancing racial equity through an organization's products, services or relationships in the industries and communities in which it operatesCase study from Vista Equity Partners on launching an external board program to source diverse board candidates for its portfolio companies 

Middle Eastern and Northern African LGBTQ Young People

April 20, 2023

LGBTQ young people are more likely to report mental health concerns – including  depression, anxiety, and suicidality – in comparison to their straight and cisgender peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020). These reports are often due to minority stress experiences, such as identity-related discrimination and victimization, rather than simply being LGBTQ (Meyer, 2003). After a call for intersectional research on health disparities by the National Institutes of Health (NIH, 2015), some research has begun to illuminate the impact of having multiple marginalized identities (e.g., being LGBTQ and a person of color) on mental health outcomes (Cyrus, 2017). However, very little research has explored the mental health of Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) LGBTQ young people (Hayek et al., 2022). Despite representing over 20 countries and being considered non-White by the majority of other Western countries (Maghbouleh et al., 2022), MENA people have historically been considered both a monolithic population in the United States (U.S.) and White by the U.S. Census (Abboud et al., 2019). Thus, little research has explored the mental health of MENA people, as they are often combined with White people in literature. However, a systematic review found that MENA LGBTQ people frequently report symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress, suicidal ideation, and substance misuse, which is often tied to societal and cultural stressors that are unique to MENA people, such as a lack of sexual health awareness and anti-LGBTQ stigma and persecution (Hayek et al., 2022). Specific to young people, research by GLSEN suggests that MENA LGBTQ young people experience higher rates of school-based victimization than their non-MENA peers, which is related to depressive symptoms and poor self-esteem (Truong & Kosciw, 2022). Using data from The Trevor Project's 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, this brief will be one of the first to exclusively explore the mental health of MENA LGBTQ young people, separately from White LGBTQ young people.

The South Has Something to Say - An Examination of Student Loan Debt in the South Part One: Atlanta

April 13, 2023

This paper series is an expansion of the Student Borrower Protection Center's exploration of the geography of student debt disparities and the economic distress that borrowers of color, particularly those who are Black and Latino, face in the student loan market. Research has increasingly shed light on the vast racial disparities present in the student debt crisis. Beyond rising balances and unaffordable monthly bills, student debt has far-reaching effects on the lived experience of student loan borrowers and the communities in which they live.In 2020, the SBPC published Disparate Debts, an examination of racial disparities in student debt burdens and borrower distress across US cities in general and in DC, Philadelphia, New York, and San Francisco in particular. Expanding on Disparate Debts, this series, Student Debt in the South, leverages previous work to examine the intersection of race and student debt throughout the South, including efforts to highlight the burdens that student loan borrowers face in both cities and rural communities.As a part of the Student Loan Law Initiative (SLLI) and in partnership with the University of California Berkeley, we have analyzed proprietary data from the University of California Consumer Credit Panel (UCCCP) data on the far-reaching effects of student debt in several metropolitan and rural areas across the South. The descriptive and demographic insights gleaned from these data help us understand the local effects of rising student debt and borrower distress and to underscore where the student debt crisis disproportionately affects certain communities, particularly communities of color.The first report in this series focuses on the city of Atlanta, providing a case study on the effects of student debt on the Black middle class and the shifting impacts of student debt on communities of color over the past decade.

The Next Reconstruction: Examining the Call for a National Reparations Program

March 30, 2023

In this brief, we examine the evolution of reparations proposals in the United States, connect a national reparations program to the United Nations' international human rights standards around reparations, and discuss the potential of a national reparations program to close long-standing racial gaps in wealth, housing, education, criminal justice, and other areas. We focus in part on the reparations commission proposed by H.R. 40, the most comprehensive reparations legislation in US history. We also make recommendations for strengthening the research and policy-development infrastructure for reparations.We argue that in addition to compensation for past harms, conceptualizations of reparations should involve looking at present practices, policies, and barriers to economic security and wealth building for Black Americans. We can account for historical injustices and prioritize how they have contributed to and exacerbated present inequalities while considering how current policies continue to exacerbate and reproduce those inequalities.In addition to exploring early reparations efforts in the United States, we review selected policy proposals that have involved efforts to make progress on reparations for Black Americans, analyze the current reparations policy landscape, and recommend ways researchers can identify approaches to make reparations effective at eliminating key racial gaps for Black Americans. This research can inform policy discussions and analyses of reparations, especially as governments continue to explore them.