‘Facing Racial Disparities,’ was Erie really the worst city in the country for people of color?

Local News

In response to Erie being named the worst city for African Americans, two women decided to do their own research; now, they’re speaking out.

A scathing report from 24/7 Wall Street back in 2017 named Erie the worst city in the country for people of color.  Now, two women, with support from the Jefferson Educational Society are disputing those claims.

Dr. Suzanne McDevitt, Co-Author of ‘Facing Racial Disparities’ says it’s “really a kind of a sophisticated form of click-bait.  It’s not really science because you can’t replicate it.”

The essay of their findings called ‘Facing Racial Disparities,’ was published by the Jefferson Educational Society.

Dr. Margaret Smith, Co-Author, says, “It was to look at what are the major areas that impact the quality of life.”

They looked at the areas by zip code to gather data.  Things like education play a role in poverty among others.

Smith says, “The rent doesn’t always match what people’s income is.  And, so how do you move out of poverty?”

Although Erie didn’t make the 2018 list of worst cities for African Americans, the publishers of the report say there isn’t a lot of wiggle room between those listed.

But, just how they calculated their data leaves many unanswered questions.

McDevitt says, “They don’t disclose their algorithms; they just tell you what the factors are, but it’s not clear really how they put that together.”

Based on their research, one of the biggest factors impeding minorities in Erie is the lack of bigger and better opportunities.

Smith says, “Erie sits on this silo and all the communities around it don’t have enough economic resources for people to move toward them.”

The pair hope that their work will guide efforts to improve conditions for everyone living in Erie, especially people of color.

Click here for the full essay.

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