Five Facts About the Marriage Gap

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How likely you are to be married may depend on your economic stability and income. Marriage rates today differ depending on class, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution. Here are five facts behind the marriage gap:

There’s an association between marriage status and poverty.

Children born into single-parent households are more likely to live in poverty. That’s obviously not the case for everyone, but it’s more difficult to make ends meet for those who don’t have another breadwinner in the house.

In D.C., 3.8 percent of married couples with children live in poverty. But 42.3 percent of female-headed households with children live in poverty, according to census estimates. The median income for single women with families is $33,485; for single men with families, it’s $46,670; and for married couples with families, it’s $133,338.

It’s not all bad: declining marriage rates among women are partly due to increased independence.

Women are waiting longer to get married than 40 years ago. They have more freedom to pursue careers outside of the home, more control over when they want to have children and have “the ability to be more selective when choosing a spouse,” researchers noted. In 1970, 44 percent of middle aged women had no independent earnings. Today, only 25 percent don’t make their own money.

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What To Call Gentrification By Non-Whites: Does Race Matter?

Gentrification takes place when middle and upper-income people move into low-income communities, which ushers in economic change, reinvestment and development. Jumping back a few weeks ago, a discussion took place on DCentric when we pondered a more specific kind of gentrification: gentefication, which is when low-income, immigrant Latino neighborhoods are gentrified by second-generation, well-to-do Latinos.

So we wondered: is gentrification much different when gentrifiers aren’t white, so much so that it requires its own term?

Alex Baca tweeted that having a separate word for this kind of gentrification is unnecessary:

It's class-based. Don't need fancy names. RT @ On gentrification & rhetoric when non-whites are gentrifiers

But others argued that gentrification by non-whites does have different implications for neighborhoods. Commenter Gente Negra, wrote:

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The Disappearing Segregated City

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Chinatown D.C. attracts a diversity of people.

Racial segregation in American cities, including in D.C., is on the decline, but it still exists. The D.C. region is the sixth most segregated large metro area, according to a new study by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. Racial segregation in the D.C. region has been dropping since 2000, but at a slower pace than eight of the nine other cities on the list.

All-white urban neighborhoods have been nearly eradicated in the past few decades, according to the study’s authors, who examined census data from 1890 through 2010. Very few all-white neighborhoods exist today, and they’re mostly in rural areas or cities with a very small black population. In 1970, one-fifth of urban neighborhoods didn’t have a single black resident.

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African Immigrants Finding Inspiration in D.C.’s Black History

The history of D.C.’s African American community is long and storied. African Americans have been around since the city became the nation’s capital, and most were free by 1830. In recent decades, D.C.’s black community has grown in ethnic diversity due to an influx of immigrants; about 18,000 District immigrants identify as black, with many coming from African and Caribbean nations. The District is also home to one of the largest expatriate Ethiopian communities in the world.

Courtesy of St. Augustine Catholic School

Students singing at St. Augustine, a school founded by free blacks and former slaves in 1858, and continues to thrive to this day.

Relations between the African American community and recent African arrivals have been tense at times. That was on display during a 2005 debate over whether to officially rename a corridor in Shaw, a historically black neighborhood, into “Little Ethiopia.”

But the history of African Americans’ struggles and triumphs also resonate with some of D.C.’s black immigrants. In a WAMU Metro Connection story about St. Augustine Catholic School, which was founded by African Americans before the Civil War ended, reporter Jessica Gould speaks with current student body president Lello Negera: “I’m from Ethiopia. I came here in 2003,” Negera tells Gould. “When I learned the history of the school, it made me realize how special this school is and how hard the people fought for us to go to school.”

About 200 children attend the school. The school is predominately black but a number of students hail from other countries.

Friday’s entire Metro Connection show was devoted to how race and ethnicity affects the D.C. region. You can find all of the stories here.

Examining D.C.’s Dropout Crisis

Rosa Say / Flickr

One reason why some parts of D.C. have such high jobless rates is that many of the unemployed lack the skills and credentials to qualify for D.C.’s jobs. While most available jobs require a bachelor’s degree, 21 percent of people living in Ward 8 haven’t even completed high school.

Dropping out of high school has far-reaching effects on one’s life, family and community. WAMU 88.5′s Kavitha Cardoza reports on why people leave school in her examination of D.C.’s dropout crisis. In her first installment, she profiles a family with a history of dropping out:

The causes and consequences of dropping out are often intertwined. Low-income students are more likely to drop out, which means they can’t get jobs that pay well and continue lives of poverty.

Four generations of Walker’s and McMillan’s family haven’t graduated from high school. They have many of the risk factors for dropping out, including learning disabilities, teen pregnancy, and drug abuse. And it’s not clear whether or how the cycle could be broken.

The story, which you can read here, is the first of a nine-part series.

‘Finding Our Missing’ and Disparities in Missing Persons Coverage

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For years, there have been vocal critics of media’s handling of missing persons cases. Particularly when it comes to national news, cases of missing white women tend to get more attention than people of other races. The problem extends beyond not adequately covering minority communities; media coverage and attention can be crucial in solving cases of missing persons.

A new TV One show premiering tonight, “Find Our Missing,” aims to correct the disparity by spreading the word about missing African Americans. The show is part of a collaboration with nonprofit Black and Missing. Some of the first cases featured on the show focus on D.C. women Pamela Butler and Unique Harris. The Washington Posts reports:

… “Find Our Missing’s” main mission isn’t media criticism or a social harangue — especially since the first two cases seen here received a considerable, if belated, amount of local coverage. Rather, in the manner of “America’s Most Wanted,” it encourages viewers to come forward with useful information. Everything you need to know about “Find Our Missing” is in that second word: our. The series keeps its outrage just out of view; its foremost concern is for the missing, as well as their friends and relatives.

Increasing television airtime for these cases could lead to their solving. Another tool that could be useful is social media, but is there a disparity there, too? Twitter, Facebook and other forums are free and open for anyone to use, so it would seem these could be the perfect ways to circumvent any media bias. But take the case of Emily Hershenson, a white D.C. woman and ex-Capitol Hill staffer, who went missing on 2011. Many locals took to Twitter and other networks to spread the word. Tweets called on news organizations to move the story up in prominence, and her name was a trending topic. Some wondered, however, if the case would have received as much attention on Twitter had Hershenson been of a different race and class.

Is D.C. Too Expensive To Be Creative? Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye Weighs In

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Gold Leaf Studios is located at 433 I St. NW.

At the end of the month, one of D.C.’s last large DIY spaces will close, putting out dozens of artists. It will be replaced by a $57 million development. Washington City Paper has this excellent write-up chronicling the history of Gold Leaf Studios and the artists it hosted:

For well over a decade, Gold Leaf’s 12 studios have housed legion creative types like [Durkl creative director Will] Sharp. And while Gold Leaf attracted packed crowds and scattered media attention over the years as its art parties grew notorious, its more important legacy is simply as a cheap, spacious place for folks to do their work. “There are happy artists here over 50 that come in at night and paint,” says Sharp. “Artists, welders, sculptors, musicians, and jewelers all under one roof is kind of an oasis for someone like me.”

Courtesy of Bora Chung

Brandon Moses of Laughing Man practices in his Gold Leaf studio.

Although Gold Leaf Studios was never intended to be permanent, its sale and closure come at a time when D.C.’s housing prices are rising. There’s been a recent, ongoing discussion over whether D.C. has become too expensive for artists to create and live. (Noticeably absent from the discussion is how go-go, a D.C. music genre, is increasingly being relegated to cheaper suburbs).

Slate’s Matthew Yglesias writes, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the city was probably more culturally influential during its mid-eighties quality of life nadir than it is today as a richer-but-prohibitively expensive city.” That’s when D.C. gave birth to groups like post-punk band Fugazi.

Fugazi founding member Ian MacKaye stopped by WAMU 88.5′s offices last week to discuss an online archiving project on The Kojo Nnamdi Show. We caught up with him afterward to get his thoughts on D.C., art and gentrification.

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Pushing the Homeless East of the River?

Tom Bridge / Flickr

A view of Anacostia from west of the river.

On Monday, we wrote about how a nonprofit’s plans to open a transitional housing building in downtown Anacostia for homeless women has sparked protests by neighbors. Some feel Anacostia is becoming a “dumping ground” for social services, and this is hurting the neighborhood’s chances for economic development.

DCentric commenter Ann-Marie Watt, who is opposed to the project run by Calvary Women’s Services, had this to add:

A couple of years ago, I was volunteering and spoke with a homeless man in McPherson Square park.  He said that he was an advocate for the homeless and operated a blog on homelessness issues.  He was sooo angry at DC and other groups moving their services to Anacostia.  He said that people were trying to get rid of the homeless population by moving them to the other side of the river.  He also said that it would be more difficult to get back to the other side every day.  So, what about that?…

Calvary is planning to relocate from Chinatown to Anacostia. It’s true that more job opportunities exist west of the Anacostia River than east of it. Traveling across the river can be timely or expensive; one alternative is the DC Circulator, which recently started running a rapid $1 bus line connecting Anacostia to the Potomac Avenue Metro across the river.

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D.C. Poverty Rates Could Increase With New Measurement

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A new government method of measuring poverty takes into account many factors the old rate didn’t: geography, taxes, government benefits, housing costs and other expenses. For D.C., this means many more people would qualify as poor due to the city’s high cost of living, DC Fiscal Policy Institute analyst Jenny Reed said on Thursday’s Kojo Nnamdi Show.

“Here in the District, we’ve seen median rent actually rise by 35 percent over the last 10 years, and incomes, at the same time, have only grown by 15 percent. So our costs of living are growing very rapidly,” Reed told Nnamdi.

While housing prices have been slow to recover in the wake of the recession, the District is one of the only cities where home prices increased from 2010 to 2011. Renting has gotten more expensive in the past year, too.

Under the new nationwide rate, poverty among children decreases while increasing for seniors. This is because government assistance families with children receive count as income. Meanwhile, out-of-pocket medical expenses paid by seniors count against them, so poverty among that group rises under the new rate. The drop in childhood poverty shows social safety net programs are helping children, but more needs to be done for seniors, the Urban Institute‘s Sheila Zedlewski said on Thursday’s Kojo Nnamdi show.

A state-by-state breakdown of the new measure isn’t yet available, but regional data show western states have the highest rate, followed by the southern region. Experts on Thursday’s Kojo Nnamdi Show spoke about the ramifications of the data and why poverty measures are important — for example, they determine who’s eligible for government assistance programs. You can listen to the entire segment here.

(Video) Deportations and Uncovering Hidden Abuses in Detention Centers

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed an executive order Wednesday prohibiting police officers from questioning the immigration status of those arrested. This comes the day after the U.S. government announced it deported a record number of undocumented immigrants in 2011.

But the District may have to eventually implement Secure Communities, a controversial federal program that requires law enforcement officials to share arrest information with immigration officials. A new Frontline series focuses on Secure Communities, the deportation process and hidden abuses in immigrant detention centers. The program, “Lost in Detention,” was the result of a collaboration with American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop

Reporter Maria Hinojosa recently spoke with PBS NewsHour’s Hari Sreenivasan about the possibility that more sexual abuse is taking place in detention centers than is reported.  “If you’re an immigrant who is detained in a detention center,” Hinojosa said, “and you’re an immigrant with papers or without, if you are sexually assaulted by a guard while you’re in a detention center, you may not have any legal right to hold anyone accountable.”

You can watch the first part of the Frontline series below:

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