Report | Race and Ethnicity

Race in the Heartland: Equity, Opportunity, and Public Policy in the Midwest

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Press release

A number of factors—historical, economic, demographic, and political—have shaped patterns of racial disparity and race relations in the Midwest. Of the eight most segregated cities in 2010’s Census data, six (Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, St. Louis, and Cincinnati) are in the Midwest. And despite some pockets of Latino growth in the last generation, fully 91.4% of midwesterners identify as white alone or black alone. This report looks at racial disparities in education, employment, wages, income, poverty, homeownership, incarceration, access to health care, wealth, and voting access. It includes a comprehensive slate of policy recommendations to achieve racial equity in the Midwest including investing in public education, raising wages for all workers, addressing labor market discrimination, adopting paid family leave and low-cost child care, and improving our social safety net.

This report is a joint project of Policy Matters Ohio, the Iowa Policy Project, COWS, and EARN.


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