August 7, 2022 / Early Childhood, Economics, Equity

Childhood friendships across economic classes key to upward mobilityImage

In new research from Raj Chetty’s team at Opportunity Insights (published in two parts in Nature and summarized in NYT), a massive analysis of economic and social networks found that exposure to and friendships among people of different social classes is one of the strongest predictors of upward mobility.

The study found that lower socio-economic groups make connections in their home neighborhood and at religious institutions, while higher SES groups tend to make their bridging connections in college. This research builds on their prior economic mobility analysis and development of the Opportunity Atlas.

So what do we do with this information?

Programs, services, policies, and investments that facilitate interactions across diverse economic groups will likely have lasting impacts. Policy level solutions might include inclusive housing and planning decisions. At a more local level, effort might be made to reduce in-school student segregation. Programmatically, even experiential programs outside of participants’ own neighborhood may have an impact.

January 28, 2022 / Basic Needs, Equity, Housing

Preliminary findings from Atlanta’s recent homeless count indicate the pandemic likely exacerbated homelessness in the city.Insight

Atlanta recently conducted its annual “Point in Time” count to evaluate the number of homeless individuals in the city. The count was canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic, but 3,240 people were counted in the city of Atlanta in 2020. The official numbers for the 2022 count will not be released until later in the year, but recent trends have shown that the pandemic may have worsened homelessness. Recently, more people have been sleeping outdoors rather than in shelters. In Atlanta, there are 2,800 beds available in shelters, but many individuals have turned down a bed due to COVID-19 concerns. Another new trend has emerged: there are more individuals that are newly homeless than ever before. There is some good news, though. As many as 700 previously homeless individuals were able to secure stable housing with pandemic-relief funding.

Takeaway: Reducing homelessness in the wake of the pandemic will rely on improved housing aid and policy as well as creative sheltering options to safely house individuals.

January 10, 2022 / Aging, Education, Equity

GPEE recently released their list of ten issues to watch in 2022 with the goal of ensuring 65% of GA’s residents aged 25-64 will hold a postsecondary credential by 2032.Insight

Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) recently released their report listing the top ten issues to watch in 2022. The report highlights the lasting effects of the pandemic on education, especially for Georgia’s most vulnerable populations including students of color, low-income youth, rural residents, workers lacking postsecondary training, and adults caring for children and elders. GPEE is focusing on equity as the state recovers from the pandemic, and the list of ten issues to watch serves as a starting point for GPEE’s goal of ensuring 65% of GA’s residents aged 25-64 will hold a postsecondary credential by 2032. The ten issues are:

  1. Equity – Shifting Mindset and Strategy
  2. Unfinished Instruction – Equity through Acceleration
  3. Non-Academic Barriers – The School’s Role
  4. Improving School Culture – The Imperative of School Leaders
  5. Funding – School Transformation on a Deadline
  6. Accountability – What’s the Future?
  7. Early Learning – Protecting Investments in Early Learners
  8. Revamping the Teaching Profession – A New Moonshot
  9. Workforce Readiness – A Strategy that Pays Off
  10. Rural Transformation – From the Inside Out
December 10, 2021 / Basic Needs, Equity, Food

Despite economic gains in 2021, food bank use is up from 2020 in metro Atlanta.Gallery

This year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks (MAS) survey, the largest public opinion survey in the Atlanta region, showed that 23.9% of respondents reported receiving food from a food bank compared to 17.9% of respondents in 2020. United Way’s 2-1-1 call data, however, found that fewer people were calling to request information about food pantries in 2021 than at the start of the pandemic. Calls about food pantries peaked in March 2020 at 2,255 calls. Comparatively, food pantry calls averaged around 700 calls per month in 2021. This could indicate that many families were concerned about needing to use a food pantry after the initial shock of the pandemic, but actually continued to need assistance over one year into the pandemic. 

Takeaway: The increased use of food banks in 2021 indicates the need for a more aggressive approach to addressing income inequality.

 

November 18, 2021 / Education, Equity, Postsecondary

A new Learn4Life report found that 1,100 fewer students in metro Atlanta completed FAFSA applications during the pandemic with high-poverty schools seeing the biggest drop in completions.Image

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion has decreased by 4% during the past year. The pandemic has likely contributed to this decrease since students have had limited social support from peers and school staff to help them navigate the complex financial aid process. The drop in completions was especially pronounced in high-poverty schools which completed 27% less applications than other schools. FAFSA completion increases postsecondary enrollment from 55% to 90% and increases postsecondary persistence by 4% per $1000 in financial aid. Low-income students are disproportionately missing out on these benefits (Learn4Life).

Takeaway: Building capacity and opportunities for postsecondary enrollment and financial aid support should be prioritized in economically disadvantaged schools.

October 12, 2021 / Equity, Housing

As Atlanta rents rises dramatically, the uneven burden affects Black and Hispanic renters the mostImage

“Rents have risen dramatically in 2021 in metro Atlanta and Black households are spending the largest portion of their income on rent in comparison to other races. According to a new analysis by Zillow, rent affordability for all renters in metro Atlanta is 29.2%, which is almost a full percentage point over 28.4% in 2019. The average rent is $1,827 as of August, which is up 20.4% year over year and up 3% month over month. Black households in the Atlanta area are spending 31.4% of their income on rent. In comparison, Latinx are paying 30%; whites are paying 27.2%; and Asians are paying 23.1%.” (CBS46, Zillow)

Takeaway: Emergency rental assistance programs and funding should prioritize Black and Hispanic communities

February 27, 2021 / Criminal Justice, Equity, Hispanic

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Despite active COVID-19 cases in secured detention facilities more than doubling between March and mid-December (among youth and staff), the number of youth being detained are on the rise. Black and Latino youth represent an increasingly larger share of the detained population. [report] (The Annie E. Casey Foundation)

February 9, 2021 / Basic Needs, Economics, Equity, Hispanic

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The racial gap in liquid assets makes Black and Hispanic families more vulnerable to income fluctuations. When faced with a job loss, Black and Hispanic families have to cut spending more dramatically than White families. Upon the arrival of a tax refund or other stimulus, Black and Hispanic families have to spend it more quickly. Listen to the MAX Workforce Solutions presentation or read the full report (JPMorgan Chase Institute)

January 13, 2021 / Economics, Equity, Hispanic, Workforce

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In a new fact sheet from the National Women’s Law Center, we’ve learned that:

  • Women represented 111% of the 140,000 net jobs lost in December (men gained 16,000)
  • More than 2 in 5 of the 12.1 million women’s jobs lost between February and April have not yet returned
  • The overall unemployment rate among women (6.3%) masks even higher rates for Black women (8.4%), Latinas (9.1%), 20- to 24-year-olds (9.3%), and women with disabilities (11.4%)

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Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) released its “Top 10 Issues to Watch in 2021” report, which includes:

  1. Equity – the imperative for recovery to success
  2. Funding – essential for achieving equity
  3. Early learning – the foundation for an inclusive economic recovery
  4. Delivery of instruction – new approaches to learning
  5. Teachers – professionalism, pay, and preparation
  6. Accountability and assessments – the opportunity to rethink and get it right
  7. Parent engagement– positioning families as partners
  8. Post-secondary completion – a pathway to prosperity
  9. Georgia’s workforce pipeline – creating equitable access and opportunities
  10. Reinventing education in Georgia – a call for leadership and collaboration

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A lack of publicly accessible and detailed cradle-to-career pipeline data from state agencies (e.g., CAPS, CTAE eligibility and enrollment by race, geography, industry and otherwise) makes decision-making, planning, and evaluation around equity nearly impossible. (Metro Atlanta Chamber)

August 27, 2020 / Economics, Equity, Workforce

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62% of Black-owned businesses are not prepared to go more than 3-4 weeks without revenue. 96% of Black-owned businesses are sole proprietorships with either 1099 contractors or no other staff, limiting the available support they qualify for. [webinar] (Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative)

August 22, 2020 / Basic Needs, Economics, Equity, Workforce

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“The rapid adoption of remote work and automation could accelerate inequalities in place for decades. Economists say the resulting ‘K’ shaped recovery will be good for professionals—and bad for everyone else.” [article] (Wall Street Journal)