As the nation continues to grapple with the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Black Memphis police officers, a new study from financial advisor SmartAsset has listed the top 10 places in the United States where black Americans fare best economically.
“Nearly a quarter of the way through the 21st century, Black Americans continue to face significant financial inequality,” Patrick Villanova, Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF), writes for SmartAsset. “In 2021, the median income of Black households was almost $23,000 less than the median income of all households nationally, according to Census Bureau data. And the income gap between Black and white households was even greater, with white families outpacing their Black counterparts by more than $28,000 in the same year.”
Using Census Bureau data, SmartAsset ranked “133 places on six metrics including household income, homeownership and education, among others.”
“Our rankings are based solely on economic data and do not take into account the social climate or other factors that may contribute to racial inequality in a place,” Villanova notes.
Among its key findings is, “Black Americans fare best in places with less than 500,000 residents.”
“The average population of the top 10 places in our study where Black Americans fare best economically is just over 260,000,” Villanova reveals. “Colorado Springs, home to approximately 484,000 people, is the largest out of those 10 places.”
At the top of the list is Murfreesboro, Tenn., which boasts “the lowest Black poverty rate.”
“Located about 35 miles southeast of Nashville, Murfreesboro has a poverty rate of 8% among Black residents, which is the lowest in our study,” Villanova explains.
According to SmartAsset, these are the top 10 places in which black Americans enjoy the most economic security:
- Murfreesboro, TN
- Enterprise CDP, Nevada
- Chesapeake, VA
- Pembroke Pines, FL
- Aurora, IL
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Chandler, AZ
- Grand Prairie, TX
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Elk Grove, CA
Here’s the catch.
Remember that caveat from the beginning? The one that said the study doesn’t take into account “other factors” when listing these cities?
With very few exceptions, every city on this list has higher-than-average crime rates.
“The overall crime rate in Murfreesboro is 27% higher than the national average, and the violent crime rate is 26% higher than the national average,” according to Murfreesboro Chief of Police Michael Bowen. “The residents of Murfreesboro have a 1 in 34 chance of becoming a victim of a crime.”
Or what about Enterprise, Nev., an unincorporated area outside of Vegas?
Crimegrade.org gave it a C-minus, stating, “Your chance of being a victim of crime in Enterprise may be as high as 1 in 8 in the northeast neighborhoods, or as low as 1 in 44 in the southwest part of the city.”
Then there are numbers 3 and 6, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, in the state of Virginia.
“Both Virginia Beach and Chesapeake saw an increase in second quarter per-capita homicides in 2022 when compared to the second quarter homicide rates in 2021 and 2020,” reports The Center Square. “Chesapeake recorded 2.88 homicides per 100,000 people during the quarter, which is an increase of 1.65 when compared to 2021 and an increase of 0.82 when compared to 2020. In Virginia Beach, the city recorded 1.55 homicides per 100,000 people, which is an increase of 0.89 when compared to 2021 and an increase of 1.55 when compared to 2020.”
In Aurora, Ill., Van Life Wanderer cites the Aurora Police Department and reports, “In 2021 Aurora reported 3,923 violent crimes and had a violent crime rate of 997.88 per 100,000 people.”
“Aurora’s violent crime rate is 2.4x greater than the state average,” the Wanderer continues. “Year over year violent crime has increased by 15%.”
In Colorado Springs, Colo., local station ABC 13 reported that the city is “showing an increase in the rate of violent crimes over a five-year period.”
“The data shows that from 2015 to 2020, violent crime rates rose by 35%,” according to the station. “While the city’s violent crime rates were under the national average in 2015, the rate has now surpassed the national average.”
And rounding out the top 10 is Elk Grove, Calif.
According to the Elk Grove Citizen, Elk Grove “had an increase in reported violent and property crimes last year.”
“The numbered (sic) of reported violent crimes rose from 399 cases in 2020 to 448 cases in 2021, while property crimes increased from 2,390 cases in 2020 to 2,479 cases in the following year, according to the report,” the community outlet writes.
Elk Grove Police Chief Tim Albright. blamed the surging crime stats on recidivism.
“At some point, (he) was let out to once again occupy our city and re-offend and create another victim in his wake,” he said of a suspect in a carjacking at the Glenbrooke senior community.
Only three of the destinations on this list do not seem to be experiencing a crime problem: Grand Prairie, Tex., Chandler, Ariz., and Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Given the current climate, perhaps crime is one of those factors SmartAsset should “take into account.”
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