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Place Matters

September, 19 2018

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Dallas County is growing and changing and our rapidly expanding population is one of our greatest assets, providing a relatively young and diverse workforce that can drive economic growth in Dallas for years to come. While Dallas County, and North Texas as a region, has many resources, we also face obstacles that limit the upward mobility for many of our residents.

A new study released by Communities Foundation of Texas shows that there are clear connections between racial segregation, educational attainment, access to credit and household income in Dallas County. CFT commissioned the Dallas Economic Opportunity Assessment, a comprehensive analysis of the county’s economic opportunity, from the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP). The Assessment seeks to illustrate the challenges and define the underlying factors that threaten economic prosperity in the Dallas area. Not only does financial insecurity destabilize families, it also jeopardizes the long-term vitality of cities and local economies. Now is the time to empower people and programs across our community.

The report dives deeper into five indicators of economic opportunity:

  1. Income/employment
  2. Educational attainment
  3. Debt and assets
  4. Health
  5. Public safety

The combination of these five areas provides a multifaceted snapshot of the opportunities and challenges facing people of color across Dallas and the surrounding region.

 “Success for our city will only be attained when all people have a path to success," says Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. "This study helps us examine some of the key issues that our citizens are facing. We are tackling them head on and looking for new, innovative ways to make better progress faster.”

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We have work to do

As seen above, Dallas County has high levels of geographic segregation by race/ethnicity, income, educational attainment and wealth. What this means for low- to moderate-income Dallas residents—and for people of color, who are disproportionately represented in that category—is that where they live profoundly influences their access to opportunity. Because access to quality schools, health care, good paying jobs and safe neighborhoods are increasingly interrelated, it is more and more difficult for people to overcome barriers to opportunity on their own.

People of color are Dallas’ present and future 

People of color are integral to the current and future economic stability and prosperity of Dallas. By 2050, 88 percent of Dallas County’s projected 3.3 million residents will be people of color, and children of color already represent 83 percent of all young people in Dallas County. But people of color face persistent barriers to economic opportunity in Dallas with big disparities in education, employment, income, health outcomes and opportunities. Given that Dallas’ population growth is being driven by people of color, their opportunities for economic security will directly impact economic security for the region and for the future of Dallas County. 

Source:  United States Census Bureau,  2010 Census and 2015 American Community Survey

To view the full report, visit www.cftexas.org/dallas-economic-opportunity-assessment

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