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Brookings Institution: Racial Income Gap Growing in Monroe County

By Staff –


brookings logoMonroe County has one of the largest racial income gaps in the country, according to a new report released by the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

“To succeed,” the report said, “older industrial cities must overcome their stark color lines.”

The county is ranked fifth worst in the nation, as a result of the growing income disparity between racial groups, with a median household income of $54,492 overall, and, disproportionately, a $62,464 median income for whites, and a $30,893 median income for people of color.

The numbers represent a 102 percent income gap in the county, and the implications can negatively effect everyone involved, Brookings stated.

“Low incomes overall in a city equate to less money available for schools, transportation, parks, public safety, and economic development,” the report said. “They also make a city less attractive for private investments that create jobs and amenities. In short, a lack of wider economic prosperity in a city has negative consequences even for its economically better-off groups.”

The report’s findings are another harsh blow to a city that has continued to deal with its growing poverty rate, after also having been ranked as the fifth poorest city in the nation in 2015.

The local Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative has continued its efforts to address poverty in the region, with the goal of reducing poverty in the Rochester and Monroe County region by 50 percent over the next 15 years.

In addition, RMAPI officials said the group will hold a town hall meeting on Monday, May 21, to update community members regarding its upcoming Participatory Budgeting project, and to give residents the opportunity to select the neighborhood projects that will receive funding in the region.

The organization is also asking residents to share their own ideas for potential new neighborhood development.

The meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, in Wilson Magnet High School, located at 501 Genesee St., and is free and open to the public.

“Only by explicitly providing groups long excluded from local prosperity—particularly African-Americans—with pathways to better jobs, higher incomes, and wealth-building opportunities will these cities be able to deliver a higher quality of life for everyone,” Bookings said.

Click here to view the organization’s full report.

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