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State of equity presentation, 3/1/2011


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On March 1, MAPC shared the preliminary findings from our State of Equity in Metro Boston report, at the 2011 Winter Council Meeting. Following the presentation, participants engaged in table discussions to identify key policy interventions that will tackle inequities in housing, education, income, and access to jobs, and make Metro Boston a place of greater opportunity for all. The ideas generated from these table discussions will be included in a policy report to be released in early fall 2011.

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State of equity presentation, 3/1/2011

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  5. 5. When people are coming from different starting points, the opportunities they need to attaintheir full potential may varyThis is fair treatment so that everyone has a fair shot at growing up healthy, getting a goodeducation, having a job that pays a living wage, enjoying the region’s recreational resources,retiring comfortably in the community of their choice, etc.In some places this may mean removing barriers, in others it may mean different levels ofinvestment, or even affirmative policies (we hope to hear from you about what changes willlead us to our vision of an equitable region)The flip side of equity is inequity, and this is what we strive to document in our report.When we talk about inequities we mean differences between groups that harm people- thatare unfair, systematic, preventable, and grounded in social, political, economic, and/orhistoric factors.There is no biological or natural reason that your race should predict how much money youearn, or how likely you are to be hospitalized for a serious chronic disease – but it does.There is no reason renters should have to pay more of their income for their housing thanowners, but they do. And the structure of your family – who lives in your household –shouldn’t be related to whether or not you live in poverty.When we see harmful differences where none should exist, this is inequity.Benign and unchangeable differences - the average man is taller than the average woman;different schools offering different but equally enriching after school activities – these aredifferences that may actually contribute to our diversity and vibrancy as a region. 5
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  7. 7. This chart shows the age distribution in our region from 2009. The population isdivided into two groups: non-Hispanic whites, in the light blue and light red/orangebars, and of members of racial/ethnic minority groups in dark blue and red bars. Menare on the left and women are on the right.The length of each bar corresponds to what proportion of a given group falls into agiven age category.You’ll notice that these two groups, non-Hispanic whites and people of color, havesignificantly different age structures.About 25% of all people of color in our region are 14 years old or younger., whereasonly 16% of non-Hispanic whites fall into this age group.Looking at the oldest age groups, we see the opposite trends: about 8% of non-Hispanic whites are 75 or older, but only 2% of residents of color are 75 or older.Since non-Hispanic whites account for the majority of our region’s population, thereare still more white than non-white people at every age group, but if demographictrends continue, the diversity we see in our children will move up the populationpyramid increasing diversity in our older age groups as well. 7
  8. 8. If people were randomly distributed throughout our region, without regard to age orrace/ethnicity, about 12% of the people in every neighborhood would be whitechildren (under 14) and 6% would be children of color. These are the “regionalaverages.” However, looking at maps of where our children actually live, we see veryfew places that actually have such concentrations.The map on the left shows where white children live in our region compared to theregional average, the one of the right shows where children of color live.Red colors mean there are fewer kids than we’d expect if everyone were randomlydistributed. Blue colors mean there are more kids than we’d expect. The darkest redmeans that the actual concentration of children is less than a quarter of the regionalaverage; dark blue shows places where the concentration is twice what we’dexpect.These maps are nearly perfect mirror images of each other, but one not the inverse ofthe other by definition. It’s not just that there are high concentrations of minoritykids in some areas, it’s that there are particularly low concentrations of white kids inthe same places. 8
  9. 9. This graph shows the median income for families in our region over time. Readingfrom left to right income data are plotted from 1979, 1989, 1999, and finally 2006.There are five lines on this chart, each representing the income of 1/5 th of thepopulation. The bottom line represents the poorest 20%, the top line shows therichest 20%.We see that these lines were much closer together in 1979 than they are today,showing that income inequality is growing.We also see that while inflation-adjusted income has fallen slightly for 80% of thepopulation, incomes of the richest fifth of our residents has soared.The gap between the richest and poorest groups is now fivefold. 9
  10. 10. This chart shows the Gini coefficient for Boston compared to other majormetropolitan areas.The Gini coefficient is a measure of income inequality, and can range from 0 to 1,with higher values signifying higher levels of inequality.For example, a Gini Coefficient of 1 means that one person earns all of the income inthe area being measured, and a Gini Coefficient of 0 means that all residents of thearea earn exactly the same income. Thus, when the number is higher, a greater shareof income is controlled by a smaller number of people, leaving less of the pie foreveryone else.Metro Boston has a Gini coefficient of .47, which is higher than the US’s .45 and issimilar to countries like Mozambique, Nepal, and Rwanda, although these countriesare much poorer overall than the Metro Boston region.Research has shown that inequality can make us sick and increase crime rates,regardless of our poverty rate or average income. In short, it is the wide gap inincome between rich and poor, not simply poverty itself, that harms the region. 10
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  12. 12. This chart shows the proportion of babies that were born too light (<2500 grams,about 5.5 lbs) between 2005-2007 in MAPC’s municipalities. The data exclude twinsand triplets, who are usually born lighter than average.These data are dived two ways: the bars are grouped by race/ethnicity, with whiteson the left, Black/African Americans next, Hispanic/Latinos in the third group,Asians/Pacific Islanders fourth, and members of all other racial groups in the lastcluster.Low birth weight increases the risks of infant health problems and infant mortality. Itcontributes to educational and developmental delays, as well as from adult healthproblems ranging from asthma to high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type 2diabetes.Colors show different levels of educational attainment. Blue, for example, showsthose without a high school education while purple indicates college graduates.Because these data come from a sample of births, the black bars show the rangewithin which the true percentage actually falls.This chart shows that there are both racial/ethnic and educational disparities in birthweight. The racial disparities are so strong that an African American woman with acollege degree has worse birth outcomes on average than a white woman without ahigh school degree. 12
  13. 13. This chart shows the scores on the 3rd grade English Language Arts MCAS exams forselected groups of students.On the left, we have the average of all students.On the bottom right, this average is broken down into average scores by racial/ethnicgroups. On the top right, this is broken down by a few other populations – lowincome students, students with limited English, and students in special education.Low income and limited English students, who comprise many of the region’s school-aged immigrants, do much worse than the average third grader on the state readingexams.We see that white and Asian students are proficient readers at over twice the rate asAfrican American and Latino children. A gap of nearly 40 percentage pointsseparates white and African American children’s third grade reading scores.Educational experts agree that around the 3rd grade, most children stop “learning toread” and start “reading to learn,” meaning that poor reading skills at this stage cancause children to fall behind their peers in all subjects. 13
  14. 14. The blue bar represents Latino students, the red bar Black/African AmericanStudents, the Green bar White students, and the purple bar Asian students.The Y axis shows the percent of 10th grade students from each of these racial/ethnicgroups that scored proficient or higher on the math MCAS during the 2009-2010school year. Only MAPC’s municipalities are included.As the chart above shows, 83% of White and 88% of Asian students were proficientor advanced, while only 47% of Latino and around 50% of African American studentswere at least proficient in 10th grade math. 14
  15. 15. This chart shows high school dropout rates by race/ethnicity for our region in purpleand the state overall in red.We are doing better than the state in every racial/ethnic group, but there are stillhuge disparities among these groups.The dropout rate for Latino students is over three times that of white and Asianstudents 15
  16. 16. Educational attainment - this is a chart looking at educational attainment by race/ethnicity – that is, whatpercentage of people in the different racial/ethnic groups over the age of 25:had not finished high school (the bottom of the chart, in light blue),had a high school diploma and no more (the next slice up, a slightly darker blue),had completed some college or an associate’s degree (moving up, the red slice), orhad a bachelor’s degree or higher (the top slice, in green).The chart also shows change over time, comparing educational attainment rates in 2000 with those in 2009.To read this chart, you can either take each slice on its own – that is to say that the lightest blue portion of thesecond to the right column tells us that just about 40% of Latinos over 25 did not have a high school diploma in2000. Or, you can add colors together – combining the bottom two slices of the same column tells us that, in thesame year, slightly more than 60% of Latinos had at most a high school diploma.The chart shows us that, in 2009, while fewer than 10% of whites lack a high school education, roughly 35% ofLatinos have not completed high school. There is a large gap between whites and Asians who have completedhigh school and Latinos and African Americans.A good education offers the promise of increased earnings and gives us choice and security in the job market.High-paying jobs in the Commonwealth tend to require a minimum of an associate’s degree; many require atleast a bachelor’s degree. 16
  17. 17. Labor force participation rates – this is a chart comparing the percentages of several racial/ethnic groups that areactive in the labor force.The labor force includes all people who are both employed and unemployed but looking for work.Not surprisingly, we see large gaps in the region’s labor force participation rates by educational attainment.While only 65% of those lacking a high school degree are active in the labor force, 88% of those with abachelor’s degree are, creating a gap of over 20 percentage points.The odds of being active in the labor force increase with each additional educational milestone, but completinghigh school earns jobs seekers the biggest relative boost. 17
  18. 18. This graph shows housing costs for renters (in blue) and owners (in red). To compare costs over time, we plotted1999 on the left and 2009 on the right. The height of each bar represents the median housing cost for that groupin that year as a percentage of total household income. The median is the point at which half of people pay moreand half of people pay less.Although housing experts agree that families should not pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs –this is the threshold at which a household would be considered “cost burdened” – we see that about half therenters in Massachusetts paid at least this much in 2009, and were therefore cost burdened according to thisstandard.At both time points, homeowners did better than renters, on average, with the median owner housing costsabout 6 percentage points lower than that of renters in 2009. Regardless, both renters and owners were payingmore for housing as a percentage of their income in 2009 compared to 1999.The census arrives at housing costs by asking renters how much their gross rent is. For owners, housing costsinclude things like mortgage payments, insurance costs, property taxes, and condo fees, if applicable.RentersMedian rent in real dollars has gone up. The median renter cost was $988 in 2009. In 1999, renters paid $880 in2009 inflation-adjusted dollars.The percent of renters paying 40% or more and 50% and more has gone up. In 2009, 33% of renters paid more than 40% of their income to rent. In 1999, a quarter paid more than 40% of their income to rent. In 2009, 25% paid 50% of more of their incomes to rent. About 18% paid 50% or more in 1999.Owner data is harder to come by.The median owner cost in 2009 was $1,329/month. There is no comparable overall statistic from 2000 – it’sbroken out by fault by those with and without mortgages.In 2009, those with a mortgage paid a median of $2,078/month and those without a mortgage paid $666/month.Inflation adjusted owner costs in 1999 were $1,740 for those with a mortgage and $522 for those without amortgage. I can’t guess at what the overall median would be, even knowing the relative numbers in eachcategory. 18
  19. 19. This map shows HUD-estimated foreclosure rates across MAPC between January 2007 andJune 2008. These rates were calculated in order to decide where to spend NeighborhoodStabilization Program funds. They reflect the number of “foreclosure starts” per 100mortgages in each Census tract. Any property receiving a foreclosure filing such as a Noticeof Default or Lis Pendens counts in the “foreclosure starts” total, even if the loan waseventually made current and the home was never repossessed.The darkest shade of green shows areas where fewer than 2 of every 100 mortgages weresubject for foreclosure filings. Dark red shows places where more than 8 of 100 mortgageswere embroiled in the foreclosure crisis.Within the most distressed category (dark red), we know that foreclosure rates exceeded10% in parts of Roxbury and the South End between January 2007 and June2008. Framingham, Randolph, Revere, Lynn, Chelsea, Everett, and Milford also grappled withdistressed neighborhoods where the foreclosure rate exceeded 8% during this period. Bycontrast, less than an estimated 2% of mortgages were subject to foreclosure filings in manyof the North Shore communities. Wealthy suburbs to the north and west of Boston alsoenjoyed some of the region’s lowest rates.Foreclosures hurt individuals and families who lose their homes, but also impact entirecommunities through “spillover effects.” There is strong evidence that nearby foreclosurescan lower surrounding property values and increase crime rates.There are some changes over time, but this pattern is maintained, for the most part. You cansee town by town yearly data here: to see if youagree.I think we can say that the crisis has gotten worse since 2009 (a 32% increase in 2010compared to 2009) and is supposed to worsen through 2012. 19
  20. 20. This chart shows rates of premature mortality by race/ethnicity.Over two-thirds of Massachusetts residents live to see their 75th birthdays, but the risk ofdying before this age, called premature mortality, is highly unequal across races/ethnicities.The premature mortality rate, shown in this chart, captures preventable deaths, unfairdifferences in access to medical care, and inequities in a range of health conditions, making ita very useful health disparities indicator.Rates for the MAPC region are shown in purple, and those for Massachusetts are shown inred. The overall rate is on the farthest left, followed by Whites, Black/African Americans,Asians, and finally Latinos.There are two important patterns to note: First, Greater Boston is doing well compared toMassachusetts as a whole. Fewer than 300 out of every 100,000 residents die before age 75in our region, which is lower than the statewide rate.Secondly, we suffer from huge disparities in the risk of early death by race and ethnicity, withAfrican Americans dying young at three times the rate of Asians and one and a half times therate of whites.Public health experts think that disparities in socioeconomic status, environmental quality,housing, education, stress, health behaviors such as smoking and substance abuse, violence,obesity, and lack of access to medical care are the root causes of these inequities.If we as a region took steps to equalize the premature mortality rate across races byintervening on these factors, bringing all groups down to the risk experienced by Asians, over12,000 lives would be saved each year, eliminating about half of the premature deaths in ourregion. 20
  21. 21. This chart shows the poverty rates for seniors vs. the population overallThe poverty rate is federally set, based on the percentage of the population livingbelow the Office of Management and Budgets national poverty threshold. Thepoverty threshold is intended to reflect the lowest income needed to meet anindividual’s or family’s basic needs, and therefore varies depending on family size andcomposition.In 2009, the overall poverty rate was about 9%, although 11% of seniors 75 and olderlived in poverty. This disparity between seniors and the general public has persistedfor the past decadeElders earn lower incomes, on average, than younger individuals. Whether theseincomes are from Social Security, pensions, earnings from work, or asset income,they are generally not as high as the incomes of those who are participating in thelabor force, and that means that seniors are particularly vulnerable to living inpoverty. 21
  22. 22. This slide shows poverty rates for grandparents who live with their grandchildren.In blue are grandparents who live with their grandchildren but are not responsible forthem – i.e., multi-generational households where parents are present. The povertyrate is about 5%.These families do better than the region overall where about 9% of families are inpoverty, shown by the dashed line.Grandparents who live with and are responsible for grandkids are at a disadvantage.About 14% of such families are in poverty. 22
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  24. 24. Each table should select a facilitator • He or she should make sure everyone has a chance to speak and the table covers as many of the discussion questions as possible • The pink paper on each table is a resource for facilitatorsEach table should select a note-taker • He or she should record the key points of the conversation • If an MAPC staffer is at your table, she will play this role • The blue paper on each table is for the note-takers to fill out 24
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