Schmudget Blog

Opportunity Lacking for Most Washingtonians

Posted by Lori Pfingst at Nov 19, 2012 02:25 PM |

Part I in a series from our recent brief,  In Pursuit of Prosperity: Eight Strategies to Rebuild Washington's Economy. Widely shared prosperity doesn’t happen by accident.  In our recent policy brief,  we discuss how prosperity is the result of deliberate investments in the foundations of a strong economy – broad and equal opportunity to build knowledge and skills, adequate compensation and support for workers, and adequate investments in conditions that foster economic growth.

Access to the opportunities that built a strong middle class – attending quality public schools, access to health care and transportation, affording a home and growing up in safe, healthy neighborhoods – are not as abundant as they need to be.

According to the Opportunity Index,  a measurement of the economic, education, health, and civic opportunities for all U.S. counties, no county in Washington state gets a grade of “A” for comprehensive access to high quality education, adequate health care, affordable housing,  and safe communities. Just six counties receive a grade of “B” or higher, and the remaining 31 counties receive a grade ranging between “B-“ and “D+” (data was not available for two counties).

A different study specific to the Central Puget Sound found that access to opportunity is weak for the region, with people of color having the least access. Just four of every 10 residents in the Central Puget Sound region have access to high opportunity, and Black, Hispanic, and American Indian residents had less access than White and Asian  residents (see figure below).

oppotunity combined_blogpost

Stay tuned for future posts in this series after the Thanksgiving holiday. Click here to read the full brief. 

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