Pounding yet another beat on the “Dallas is a woefully unequal place segregated by race and income” drum, here’s a new study from the Urban Institute that ranks the city dead last in an index of overall economic and racial inclusion.
The report, “Inclusive Recovery in U.S. Cities,” looks at how the 274 largest cities in the country recovered from economic downturns between 1980 and 2013. Researchers measured economic trends in each city, as well as data on income segregation, housing affordability, job availability, and racial disparities applying to all of the above. They found that while the ten cities doing best on their inclusion metrics also had a healthy economic outlook, “economic growth does not automatically lead to inclusion.”
A city’s economic success does not necessarily affect all of its residents. That’s why Dallas, bristling with shiny new development in a metropolitan region overflowing with jobs, can fare well on so many economic measures while leaving so many people, most of them black or brown and living in the southern half of the city, behind. This is basically another example of how, in Dallas, opportunity is limited to people living in wealthier neighborhoods, a problem illustrated locally by the group Opportunity Dallas. Economic growth by itself is not enough, the report concludes. Targeted, deliberate policy is necessary to ensure that a rising tide actually does lift all boats.