Opportunities: The Structure of Advantage and Disadvantage in the
The Segregation of Opportunities finds that despite improvements
in minorities' access to housing in area communities and reduced housing
discrimination, stark racial and economic disparities persist in the
distribution of access to opportunities across the Chicago region. The
study measures a variety of opportunity factors at the community level,
including strength of the local tax base, quality of schools, access to
jobs and transportation, and other quality of life issues as compared to
region-wide averages and the extent to which opportunities are
accessible to people from various socioeconomic groups, specifically
race and income.
Communities are ranked in five categories from "lowest
opportunity" to "highest opportunity,"based on an averaging of
opportunity scores, and these findings are then correlated with the
region's distribution of population by race and the location of
Among principal findings in the study are:
- Households with limited incomes have very few housing options
in parts of the region with the greatest opportunities. 87% of the
housing affordable to households earning $25,525/year are in low
opportunity communities. Less than 2% of the housing in high opportunity
areas are affordable to households with limited incomes;
- Black and Hispanic households are located almost entirely in
low opportunity areas (94% of Black residents and 83% of Hispanic
residents reside in communities in the low or lowest opportunity groups.
Just 3% of households in high opportunity communities are Black;
- The "highest opportunity" communities had 34 times as many jobs
created within a 10 mile radius between 1995 and 2000 as the "lowest
opportunity" communities, making jobs harder to access for racial
- The "lowest opportunity" communities have a tax capacity of
$871/household as compared to $2,813 for the "highest opportunity"
- Comparisons on a variety of quality of life issues, ranging
from crime to asthma, the amount of recreational space, and civic
participation, find similar disparities. For example, the housing
appreciation rate - as a measure of wealth - in the "lowest opportunity"
areas was 37% from 1990 to 2000 as compared to 81% in the "highest
The report offers a number of prescriptions to the conditions
identified in the report, including reforms at the state, regional, and
local levels. For more information on how you can get involved in
efforts to reverse the segregation of opportunities in the Chicago
region, contact the Leadership Council today.
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