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A Fake Black Mecca? Atlanta Tops List for Highest Inequality in the United States

A Fake Black Mecca? Atlanta Tops List for Highest Inequality in the United States

Atlanta

People protest against the mistreatment of Black people on June 15, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Some boast that Black people run Atlanta. After all, Black residents make up 49.79 percent of the population, while whites make up 40.42 percent. The city is tied for third place (with Richmond, VA) for the U.S. city with the most Black-owned businesses. A-Town follows Fayetteville, NC, and Washington, DC, with 113,110 Black businesses, according to Lending Tree.

But there is also the argument that Atlanta is not really a Black mecca, that it is, in reality, a fake Black mecca. Why? Because inequality actually runs Atlanta.

Atlanta has the highest income inequality in the nation, according to United States Census Bureau dataMany Black Atlantans have not benefited from the city’s economic success.

“When a very large percentage is vulnerable to that kind of economic pressure, it says that we have a lot of work to do,” said Kyle Waide, president and CEO of The Atlanta Community Food Bank, which is experiencing soaring demand for services.

Despite this, some still see Atlanta as a sort of promised land for Black Americans.

“While true, it’s slightly misleading. Many black people doing great live in the metro area and are not included in this stat. The Atlanta area is still a top place to live and thrive as a black person,” a Twitter user identified as Brian Obama responded to the report.


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The city’s inequality ranking is based on the Gini coefficient.

In economics, the Gini coefficient measures statistical dispersion intended to represent the income inequality or the wealth inequality within a nation or a social group. It looks at how equally income is distributed among a population. The measurement is in a decimal format ranging from zero to one.
A zero score means complete income equality within a community and everyone has equal income. The higher the decimal score, the greater the inequality, The Atlanta Constitution-Journal reported.

When the Gini coefficient is applied, Atlanta was found to have the largest gap between the poor and wealthy among U.S. cities with more than 100,000 residents, according to Census data.

By comparison, New Orleans is ranked No. 2; New York City landed in the No. 7 spot; and Tampa was at No. 8.

This isn’t the first time Atlanta’s inequality was examined. Back in 2018, The Guardian reported on the fallacy of Atlanta being a Black mecca when it was the “most unequal U.S. city.”

People protest against the mistreatment of Black people and to let the legislatures know they want policy change, at the Georgia State Capitol on June 15, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)