Racial Equality

Minority Report: Racial Disparities Persist in the ‘Burgh

Jan 27, 2015
Jon Dawson / Flickr

A recent report by the University of Pittsburgh suggests that Pittsburgh, often touted as one of America’s most livable cities, might not be so livable for African Americans.

The report highlights the racial disparities affecting the quality of life for Pittsburgh’s black residents.

Larry Davis, Dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and director of its Center on Race and Social Problems, discusses the report’s findings and their implications for those invested in racial equity in Pittsburgh.

Compared to white Pittsburghers, black and hispanic people have larger employment problems, are more likely to live in poverty and experience higher rates of death resulting from chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease.

Davis says the study shows how little has changed since 2007, when the initial study upon which this latest report is based, was undertaken. The story that’s told by the report, Davis explains, is that Pittsburgh suffers from many of the same racial disparities as other American cities.

In trying to assess why not much has changed in eight years, Davis suggests that when it comes to employment and so on, people typically have vested interests in the status quo, and sticking to “business as usual” serves to frustrate change.

NYU School of Social Work

In the new book, Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality, Dr. Patrick Sharkey, an associate professor of sociology at New York University, explores what he calls some of the most persistent forms of racial inequality.

From gaps in income to academic test scores, he looks at race and neighborhoods over multiple generations.