Coming in first place is Washington, DC! With a final score of 72.4, DC is the best city for Black professionals. It ranks well on all scores, including a top #1 position for economic opportunity, #3 for housing opportunity, and #4 for business environment. DC’s lowest ranking is for its community & representation, which ranks #28.
Home to two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Howard University and the University of District Columbia, it’s no surprise that over one-third of the region’s Black population has a college degree, well above average. Combined with a strong job market, the median income among DC’s Black population is higher than anywhere else in the country. Yet inequalities persist, and Black incomes in DC remain 21% lower than non-Black ones.
23.4% of businesses in DC are Black-owned. You can pick up a new novel at Mahogany Books, grab some fresh flowers at Lee’s Flower Shop, or get in a hard workout at Cut Seven! Black businesses are somewhat underrepresented – 28% of residents are Black – but the gap is similar to other major cities with large Black populations, like Atlanta and Chicago.
Homeownership is a major contributor to racial wealth disparities in the United States. Nationally, the Black homeownership rate trails all other racial groups and is over 30 percentage points lower than white non-Hispanics. In DC, just over half of Black households own their homes – one of only seven cities in our analysis to reach this mark. This, combined with relatively high incomes, means Black DC households have a lower cost-burden rate than most other cities: 40% spend more than 30% of incomes on housing, compared to 55% in Los Angeles and 50% in New York.