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PolicyLink: How is the Black population doing in the Bay Area?

A focused look at racial disparities by four key factors—college readiness, police use of force, median earnings, diversity of elected officials—in the Bay Area.



The data

The datasource for college readiness comes from the California Department of Education. Police use of force data is drawn from the California Department of Justice. Data for median earnings comes from the ACS. Diversity of electeds is a primary dataset of demographic information on elected officials, collected and analyzed by the Bay Area Equity Atlas.

The visualization

To highlight our focus on the Black population, we emphasized this data through color, and focused on comparing data for the Black and White populations where possible. Our wraparound text provides insights into drivers of systemic disparities seen in the data and how they impact quality of life in the region, as well as solutions.

The historical context

The racial inequities revealed in these data displays are reinforced by intentional and unintentional policy decisions related to neighborhood investment, residential segregation, labor market inequities, and overpolicing in communities of color. Lack of equity in political representation has posed challenges to advancing solutions that address these disparities.

The current implications

The disparities seen here point to a need for solutions that address the root drivers of inequities in the Bay Area. Equitable school funding to address generations of disinvestment, public safety strategies that center community needs, and economic protections for workers could all contribute to a more equitable and prosperous region.


Data Deep-Dive

Key takeaways to guide analysis

The college readiness gap

A third of Black high school graduates are college ready; over half of White students are.

An earnings divide

On average, Black workers in the region earn about half of what White men earn.

Barriers to building power

Currently, four out of five cities in the Bay Area do not have a Black elected official.