Giving Compass' Take:

• An article at Urban Institute updates its evaluations of different American cities' inclusiveness racially and economically to help serve marginalized communities during COVID-19.

• Why is gauging inclusiveness important in correcting inequities in American cities? How can you draw attention to gaps in various American cities' inclusiveness and encourage policymakers to address them?

• Look at the growing inequities in the criminal justice  across American cities during the pandemic.

A few years ago, we explored how 274 of the largest US cities ranked on racial, economic, and overall inclusion across four decades. We defined inclusion as the opportunity for all residents to contribute to and benefit from economic prosperity. Journalists, advocates, city leaders, and practitioners then used our data feature and report to reflect upon their policies and programs and to hold leaders accountable to inclusion goals.

To help cities continue advancing inclusion, particularly during the pandemic, which is highlighting the already-wide disparities in these very indicators of inclusion, we updated the feature to evaluate inclusion in the same cities in 2016. Using these data, we found that many cities improved on inclusion since 2013, but some worsened.

Between 2013 and 2016, Duluth, Minnesota, improved most on overall inclusion, jumping 73 ranks. The following factors drove Duluth’s improvement:

  • a reduction in income segregation (residents were more likely to live near people of different income levels in 2016 than they were three years prior)
  • reductions in the share of households paying more than 35 percent of their annual household income on rent
  • reductions in the proportion of families that contain at least one person working full time but still earn less than the federal poverty level
  • reductions in racial segregation
  • reductions in their racial homeownership gap
  • reductions in their racial poverty gap

City leaders should work with their residents, particularly those who have been historically excluded from decisions, to identify concrete steps to increase equity and inclusion in the wake of COVID-19.

Read the full article about American cities' inclusiveness by Christina Plerhoples Stacy, Ananya Hariharan, and Brady Meixell at Urban Institute.