African American residents of the state experience a much different reality than white residents. Statewide, African Americans have lower rates of educational attainment, lower median household incomes, and higher rates of poverty than do white Marylanders. Furthermore, in Baltimore City, one-third of households of color have no net worth. These disparities have their roots in our nation’s segregated past, from the legacy of slavery to policies such as red-lining. To further understand how these systemic forces have impacted our economy, my colleagues and I at the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University examined the links between segregation, public policy, and economic trends.
Over the course of five months, RESI used two different measures to explore segregation in Maryland’s workforce:
- Occupational Crowding compares the percentage of a group in a given occupation to the percentage of that group that has the necessary education to hold that job.
- The Duncan Index of Dissimilarity measures how similar the distribution of two different groups are across an economy. The measure gives you a percentage (0 percent to 100 percent) of one group that would need to switch jobs to desegregate the economy.
We examined data on over 500 occupations between 2009 and 2016 in Baltimore City, the Baltimore Metro Area, and Maryland as a whole. Our analysis aggregated these occupations into 22 major occupation categories. To understand the future of segregation in Maryland’s workforce, RESI also examined over 20 years of graduation data for all two- and four-year colleges in the state.
Earlier this month I presented RESI’s findings at the Maryland Workforce Outlook Forum, Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter to Maryland’s Workforce.
I invite you to view my presentation and to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding the numbers or how you can use the data for your organization.