Working with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Urban Institute, the Urban League of Central Carolinas is assessing the conditions and experiences of all people in an eight-county Charlotte region through a project called the State of Ethnic Charlotte. The project measures ethnic progress and disparities, both quantitatively and qualitatively, across four Equality Index areas: economics, education, health, and social justice. For its part, the Institute collected secondary data on a number of indicators in these four areas for the Charlotte region. The region of interest includes the following counties in North Carolina: Cabarrus, Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Rowan, and Union. This region also includes York County in South Carolina.
The indicator articles presented here discuss some of the key measures within the Equality Index areas of economics, education, and health. For any of the measures in the areas of economics, education, and health, the Equality Index refers to the ratio between that measure for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians compared to Whites. Depending on the measure of interest, an index much less than or much greater than 100% suggests that the racial/ethnic minority group is doing worse relative to Whites. Comparisons of these measures are presented in graphs, accompanied by a discussion of the data. A table of Index Values is also provided for each measure, along with a list stating which racial or ethnic group had the largest disparity gap in comparison to Whites for each county.
In the area of economics, issues such as median household income, poverty rates, and homeownership are discussed. For example, Hispanics were found to have the lowest median earnings in almost all counties in the region for both males and females. Hispanics also had the lowest rates of homeownership in the region, while Whites had the highest. Moreover, when compared to their White counterparts, Blacks in the Charlotte region, on average, were twice more likely to be in poverty, while Hispanics were three times more likely. To read more about the economics findings, please read the full article here.
For education, topics discussed include highest degree earned, End-of-Grade test scores, enrollment levels, and graduation rates. For example, Blacks and Hispanics had lower rates of passing scores than Whites in all subjects of End-of-Grade tests in all counties in the region. Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians also had lower rates than Whites for attaining a college degree or higher in the region. To read more about the issues within education, please read the full article here.
In the health article, the measures discussed include various birth-related issues, as well as overweight and obesity rates, diabetes diagnoses, and insurance coverage rates. For example, Blacks and Hispanics had higher percentages in comparison to Whites of births to mothers under the age of 18 in all areas studied. Furthermore, when compared to their White counterparts in the Charlotte region, births to Black mothers with less than a high school education were twice more likely to occur, while births to Hispanic mothers with less than a high school education were six times more likely to occur. In addition, Blacks had the highest percent of live birth with low and very low birth weights. To read more about the measures within the area of health, please read the full article here.
Overall, the data collected for The State of Ethnic Charlotte project reveal the continuing disparity between Whites and minority groups. As the minority share of the total population in the Charlotte region increases over time, it will be imperative to understand how the new internal shifts of minority groups, particularly Blacks and Hispanics, will transform the socioeconomic profile of the counties that the ULCC serves. Specifically, how will the rise in racial-ethnic diversity in the next few years affect the current disparities that were highlighted in these reports?
Bianca Guinn wrote this article while a graduate student working at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute in 2011.