In nearly every news cycle there's a story about the struggles faced by African Americans in our nation’s cities. Sadly, no place has yet to solve all issues of inequality for its residents. However, many smaller to mid-sized U.S. cities offer more level playing fields than their larger counterparts. In this, our inaugural Top 10 Best Cities for African Americans, we spotlight communities that are great places for African Americans to live, work and play.
How did we select the cities? When we create one of our monthly Top 10 lists, we are looking at livability through a certain lens. Those lenses include demographic (families), lifestyle (foodies, beer lovers), life stage (retirees, college towns) as well as our overall Top 100 Best Places to Live (2016) and Top 100 Small Towns.
Our data driven approach begins with basic indicators of livability, including parks, cost of living, Walk Score, climate, crime, and air quality, as well as measures of health care availability and quality, economic equality, and commute time. Editors then looked for areas with higher-than-average populations of African Americans and places where they are succeeding in terms of income, homeownership and academic achievement. Desirability was measured by analyzing areas where African Americans are moving to at higher rates. Finally, editors factored in lifestyle and consumer data from Esri.
The data can only take you so far. Our goal is to create a Top 10 list with choices for everyone. So we narrow down the list looking for cities in a range of sizes and geographies. Interestingly, this list featured an unusual amount of communities housing or surrounding military bases, but there are plenty of other options, as well. In the end, we feel this is a solid cross-section of cities.
As a final bit of affirmation, when we presented the list to the author, Teree Caruthers, it turned out she lives in and loves one of the communities the data had lead us to (La Vergne, TN). So, we got her thumbs up.
But, as always, how do you think we did?