The findings keep pouring in: North Carolina won’t grow as strong or resilient an economy without taking a careful look at how it ensures everyone is included and connected to opportunity. Proven public policies and investments are needed to ensure that prosperity is broadly shared and everyone benefits from growth.
It is clear that there is a long way to go. In a recent report by my colleague Tazra Mitchell on economic hardship in the state, more than 464,000 North Carolinians would need a stronger pathway out of poverty to make the poverty rates for communities of color equal to that of whites. Analysis by the Brooking Institution recently found that proximity to jobs for people of color and poor people fell more steeply than for non-poor and white residents since 2000. In North Carolina, four of the five metro areas profiled in the report saw no improvement or a worsening of job proximity for residents of neighborhoods that were majority people of color. Not only has the distance to jobs grown, despite the recovery that began in 2009, there remain are still too few jobs for the North Carolinians who want to work and the jobs that are available increasingly pay low- or poverty-wages.
New research published in the Urban Studies journal finds that equity is a powerful force in sustaining job growth. Over more than 180 metro regions, the authors find that growth spells– measured by employment increases over three or more years–are longer if the region has lower income inequality and is more spatially integrated.
Raleigh and the Triangle region are becoming an important case study in how to pursue equitable growth. If done right here, the region could provide important insights for other areas of the state, region and country. Even as employment growth in the state has been concentrated in Raleigh’s metro area (as well as Charlotte), the region’s full potential has yet to be realized as it continues to grow at less than half of it’s pre-recession rate.
In an analysis released last week by the Triangle J Council of Governments, PolicyLink and PERE USC,it is clear that demographic shifts and economic realities require the Triangle region including Raleigh, Durham and the surrounding 13 county area to embrace equitable development strategies. Read More