For black and latino women in New York City, overcoming poverty is like to winning the lottery -- very few ever win and the odds are about the same. A newly released Economic Security and Well-being Index for Women in New York City by the New York Women's Foundation shows a strong link between the racial and ethnic make-up of neighborhoods and the economic security and well-being of women.
Across the city, top ranked neighborhoods for women include the Upper East and West Sides and Tribeca in Manhattan with low levels of unemployment -- less than 1 percent, high levels of educational attainment -- more than 60 percent of women hold a bachelor's degree or more and high median earnings of $75,067. In all three communities, black and latino women make up less than 10 percent of the population.
Less than a 30-minute subway ride away, women living in the Bronx are struggling to stay afloat. Four out of five of the bottom ranked neighborhoods for women in New York City are in the Bronx where 36 percent of families have an income of less than $25,000 per year.
The worst ranked neighborhood in the Economic Security and Well-being Index, East Tremont, a predominately black and latino community in the Bronx. East Tremont has a poverty rate of 40 percent for women and an unemployment rate of 12 percent, a figure significantly higher than the national average at 7.8 percent. Fifty-six percent of women have not completed high school or its equivalent and less than 1 percent hold a bachelor's degree or more.
The report, produced by the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest (CR2PI) ranks the 59 community districts in New York City using most recent data data from the U.S. Census Bureau and city agencies in three major domains: Economic Security, Health and Safety, and Education. In all of the areas studied, no neighborhood with majority women of color, immigrants or single mothers ranked in the top 25 communities for women in New York City.
Success and opportunity for women and families living in economically vulnerable communities should not be left to chance. We need programs and policies at the state and federal levels to assuage the deepening inequality gap in the U.S. If left unattended, it will become far too great to close.