Increasing Economic Opportunity for African-Americans: Local Initiatives that Are Making a Difference
by Aparna Mathur
American Enterprise Institute
July 31, 2014
Economic mobility for Americans on the whole is stagnating, but is of particular concern for African-Americans. Forty-four percent of blacks in the bottom income quintile stay there until adulthood, as compared to twenty-five percent of comparable whites. A range of policy initiatives have met with varied success in improving the situation. Among these options are measures that combat residential and other forms of segregation by focusing on people-based, rather than place-based solutions (e.g. housing vouchers, school choice). Some have suggested – and Wisconsin has implemented – a policy whereby employers develop customized job-training programs based on their needs as a way of confronting labor market challenges in the African-American community. Another proposal would grant cash bonuses to low-income teenagers upon their completing high school, realigning their incentives to keep getting educated. Most importantly, federal policies and tax rates must be adjusted so as to encourage the formation of stable, working families.