READERS' CHOICE BEST CITIES for African Americans

By Brown, Monique R.; Padgett, David A. | Black Enterprise, July 2001 | Go to article overview

READERS' CHOICE BEST CITIES for African Americans


Brown, Monique R., Padgett, David A., Black Enterprise


The results are in. Here are YOUR top picks for blacks to live, work, and play.

ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT RELOCATING? IF SO, we suggest you stay put until you review our top Cities(*) for African Americans. Regardless of which factors you value most--employment opportunities, a reasonable cost of living, entrepreneurial assistance, accessible transportation, or cultural offerings--you're sure to find a place that meets your needs or at least piques your curiosity. Consider these interesting facts about our top picks:

* Seven out of 10 have a black mayor.

* Half are located on the East Coast.

* All have a black population of at least 25%.

* Survey respondents were generally satisfied or very satisfied with their earnings potential and the overall cost of living in their locations.

* Survey respondents were generally dissatisfied with the quality of their public schools, the availability of daycare facilities, and the relationship between the police and African Americans.

Now you may be wondering how we culled our top picks, particularly since the usual suspects, New York City and Los Angeles, didn't make the cut. We placed an interactive "readers' choice" survey on our Website (www.blackenterprise.com). Over a nine week period, between January 16 and March 23, 2001, more than 4,000 surfers responded. Participants were asked to evaluate their cities based on their level of satisfaction with 21 quality-of-life factors. Responses ranged from 1 (very dissatisfied) to 5 (very satisfied), with 3 being neutral.

Next, the cumulative totals for each quality-of-life factor was divided by the number of respondents who rated that issue, resulting in a mean rating ranging from 1 to 5. For each city, these mean rating scores were totaled, with the sum being that city's final total rating score. Although 105 would be considered a perfect score (meaning a city received a "5" for each of the 21 questions), the scores for the top cities range from 70.58 to 59.54. All cities evaluated were then ranked according to their final scores. For statistical stability, only those cities with at least 50 respondents were included on our final list. Those with the 10 highest final total rating scores comprise our "Readers' Choice: 10 Best Cities for African Americans."

But our analysis didn't stop there. We also assessed the driving forces behind some of the respondents' answers by looking at the primary reasons respondents live in their present home cities. Four factors rose to the top: (1) income earnings potential, (2) cost of living, (3) proximity to employer, and (4) cost of housing. Each city profile highlights these and other important issues for anyone contemplating relocation.

You'll also notice that we compared respondents' impressions with the facts by looking at actual city demographic and socioeconomic data. This information is critical because it reveals whether black people's perceptions of urban quality-of-life in these cities match statistical evidence. In cases where the data did not match reader perceptions, the city still remained on our top 10 list because the selection process was based on respondents' perceptions. The locales featured here, listed in inverse order, were evaluated by the people who know them best--you!

(*) For the purposes of this story, "cities" are U.S. Census Bureau-defined urbanized areas which consist of a central city of at least 50,000 residents, and a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile of land area.

10 PHILADELPHIA

THE "CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE" TAKES 10TH PLACE.

Philadelphia's total population is a little more than 1.5 million and is 43.2% African American. Black household earnings average $28,858 per year, with a 16.1% pocketing more than $50,000. The mean score for satisfaction with earnings potential suggests a general sense of contentment. Even with a nearly 12% black unemployment rate and single-digit future job growth projection, Philadelphians expressed optimism about their employment prospects. …

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