The United States economy encompasses a diverse and disjointed landscape of economic well-being in which some communities are flourishing, while others are left behind. The Distressed Community Index shows that economic well-being is not only lower in distressed zip codes, but that distressed communities are falling behind the rest of the country.
According to the Economic Innovation Group, about two out of every five distressed zip codes registered job growth from 2011 to 2015, while prosperous zip codes dominated job growth with 29-percent of United States jobs in 2011 and 52-percent of jobs over the next five years.
Race and ethnicity remain strong forecasters of economic well-being in the United States. According to EIG, over 50-percent of people living in distressed communities are minorities compared to only about a quarter of the population in prosperous zip codes. Zip codes where minority groups comprise a majority of the population are twice as likely to be distressed than the average zip code.
Economic disparity is not limited to one political party. Millions of Americans, both Democrat and Republican, live in distressed zip codes across the country. The challenge of creating more inclusive opportunities in distressed communities is crucial, especially for policymakers. Fortunately, opportunities for access to capital, income, wealth building, and entrepreneurship can be instilled in every community in the United States through advocacy, leadership, and active engagement of policymakers and corporate leaders. The Opportunity Roundtable focuses on those solutions that advance business opportunities for African Americans and other traditionally underrepresented communities in an effort to ensure the enduring strength of the U.S. economy. We believe that a solution that is indirect or not measured is not a solution at all.