Schmudget Blog
— filed under: ,

New Report Confronts Racial Inequity in Washington State

Posted by Kim Justice at Jan 07, 2015 05:30 PM |
Filed under: ,

People of color in Washington state are challenged by a system that limits their access to equal opportunities, such as a high quality education, good jobs, and quality health care. A report released today, Facing Race, provides a detailed analysis showing how stark racial inequality is in Washington state and outlines what lawmakers can do to reverse the trends.

The conditions for a strong economy and high quality of life are ripe when our workforce is healthy and engaged, people have opportunities to obtain an education, and all communities are represented in decision-making. But these opportunities are not shared equally. For example:

  • A good job is the foundation for economic security, but Black and Latino workers have higher rates of unemployment and are more likely to be in a job that pays a lower wage than the overall population.
  • Good health is central to a good quality of life, yet nearly one in three Latinos and one in four American Indians and Alaska Natives lack health care coverage.
  • A high-quality early learning experience is crucial to a child’s future, yet three out of four Latino children are not enrolled in preschool.
  • Higher levels of education equate to better job security and increased wages,  but Latinos, American Indians, and Alaska Natives face the biggest hurdles to college enrollment.
  • A strong democracy is dependent on equal representation, but the racial and ethnic composition of the State Legislature does not reflect the state’s diversity. People of color comprise 29 percent of the state’s population, but less than 10 percent of the State Legislature (see graphics). 

1 in 3

leg by race

The good news is that lawmakers can take steps to increase access to opportunity and reduce inequality. The Facing Race report outlines 20 recommendations for lawmakers in the 2015 legislative session, including raising the state’s minimum wage, fully restoring food assistance, and permanently eliminating the death penalty.

As our state continues to become more racially diverse, we cannot allow gaps in opportunity to continue to limit the economic well-being and quality of life of Washingtonians. Letting any group fall behind is detrimental to the prosperity of our state.

Click here to read the full report.

 
Document Actions
HIGHLIGHTS

Policy Summit You're InvitedSign Up and Save the Date!

We will host two Budget Matters policy summits this year – one in Spokane on October 31 (register now) and one in Seattle on December 6 (registration coming soon)! The Spokane summit, featuring Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, will focus on the impact of federal and state policy decisions on eastern Washington communities. The Seattle summit, featuring Glenn Harris of Race Forward, will examine what it would take to lift up everyone to advance progress in our state. Find out more.

Our Policy Priorities

Washington state should be a place where all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda outlines the priorities we are working to advance to build a better Washington.

Budget Beat!

Check out the Budget Beat webinars we hosted throughout the 2017 legislative session, including our most recent Budget Beat about federal budget proposals, featuring Louisa Warren of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, on our YouTube channel

Testimonies in Olympia

To advance our legislative priorities, the Budget & Policy Center team was in the state capitol throughout session testifying on a wide range of bills. Watch our testimonies on TVW:
Misha TVW