19 of 1,036 Majority-Black ZIP Codes Are 'Prosperous,' Report Says

The Economic Innovation Group has released its 2020 Distressed Communities Index.

January 18, 2021, 8:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


The most prosperous majority-Black ZIP code in the United States is found in Bowie, Maryland. | SevenMaps / Shutterstock

"A shocking 70% of the nation’s 1,036 majority-Black ZIP codes are considered 'distressed,' while only 19 — 1.8% — rank as 'prosperous,'" according to an article by Andy Olin.

Olin cites the most recent Distressed Communities Index (DCI) from the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), in addition to focusing on the fact that two of the prosperous zip codes are located in Fort Bend County, Texas.

"Distressed communities are characterized by widespread poverty, high rates of unemployment and low levels of educational attainment. They also face stagnant or negative economic growth, which means little to no change in the prospects of those who live there," according to Olin's explanation.

"The seven metrics used to calculate a community’s score on the index were no high school diploma, housing vacancy rate, adults not working, poverty rate, median income ratio, change in employment and change in business establishments." Four out of the five most prosperous majority-Black ZIP codes in the country are located in Maryland, according to these metrics.

In total, the report estimates that 50.5 million Americans live in distressed zip codes, compared to 50 million in 2016. The report makes the case that the gap between prosperous and distressed grew in the United States over the course of the past decade, but despite the high ratio of distressed majority-Black ZIP codes, the share of the U.S. Black population living in distressed zip codes dropped between 2010 and 2018, according to the report.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 in Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research: The Urban Edge

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