Guess how much we pay region wide to have one of the most segregated cities in the country. $8 billion annually. The Metropolitan Planning Agency’s report, The Cost of Segregation, (March 2017) calculated how much we pay in lost lives, lost potential, increased policing, lower earnings, and lower real estate values.
The Chicago region’s homicide rate would drop by 30 percent – the equivalent of saving 229 lives in the City of Chicago in 2016 – if we reduced the level of segregation between African Americans and whites to the national median.
In 2010 our region had the 5th highest combined racial and economic segregation, the 9th highest Latino-white segregation, the 10 highest African American-white segregation, and the 20th highest economic segregation.
We would have reduced our policing costs by $65 million and our corrections cost by $218 million. Since everyone is concerned about the budgets, and Illinois didn’t even have one for over two years, maybe we should do the math and work to correct this imbalance.
It is up to us individually and collectively to educate ourselves about this issue and to elect leaders who are willing to look at this problem and work to make headway against it.
I loved Harold Washington. I love the library that was named for him. I wish he was still alive.
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