- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2016


The best cities for racial minorities isn’t New York or San Francisco, with their progressive politics and robust welfare packages, but in the Sun Belt — where less regulations, greater individual independence and housing opportunities reign.

Ironically, of the top 15 cities for African-Americans, as rated by median household income, self-employment, housing affordability and population growth, 13 are in the former Confederacy, according to an analysis by Joel Kotkin’s Center for Opportunity and Urbanism, published last year.

“The data also show a strong contrast between America’s luxury cities, such as New York, San Francisco or Boston, where high costs have significantly reduced opportunities for middle and working class households, and “opportunity cities,” often located in less costly portions of the country like Texas or the South but that have also sustained more rapid and broadly based economic growth,” Mr. Kotkin wrote in his report.

“Although most, if not all, luxury cities sustain strongly progressive politics African-Americans, Asians and Latino households have done relatively worse in these locations; cities in the states with the more generous welfare provisions aimed to help the minority poor — notably California, New York and Illinois — tended to perform worse than those that were less forthcoming, notably in the sunbelt,” he wrote.

“Ironically, in many of these places, such as metropolitan New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the media and public officials may be the most adamant in attacking racial and class inequality, but their outcomes have been generally less than optimal,” Mr. Kotkin found.

Atlanta was found to be the best city for African-Americans, followed by Raleigh, North Carolina. Washington, D.C., and Baltimore were included in the list only because of their proximity to federal jobs, which offset both cities otherwise unfriendly business environment, Mr. Kotkin noted.

Charlotte, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; Orlando, Richmond and San Antonio rounded out the top 10.

“These findings suggest that Republicans should welcome a debate over economic growth,” wrote William McGurn, a columnist at the Wall Street Journal.

“Too often, growth is treated as a matter of numbers. What a terrible way to talk about a community’s lifeblood, which provides ordinary families with better paychecks, puts decent housing and schools within their reach, offers the opportunity to rise in society — and gives parents of modest means the classic American confidence that their children will do even better than they do,” he wrote.

“The big-city blue political machines, with their dependence on the public-sector unions, will never get this. Far from coming to their senses, as their cities continue to hemorrhage people and businesses, the liberal answer is always more of the same. Even worse, the perverse effect of it all is to leave these political machines stronger because their economic failure drives out any source of sensible opposition. Look at Detroit,” Mr. McGurn wrote.

Well said. Let’s get this conversation started.

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