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ABQ releases report on racial diversity

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Mayor Tim Keller announces the release of a new equity profile of Albuquerque on Tuesday with Michelle Melendez, right, director of the city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque is a growing, majority people-of-color city that is becoming more diverse, a report on racial equity released Tuesday by city officials indicates, but persistent inequities by race and gender hold the city back.

The report, “An Equity Profile of Albuquerque,” examined dozens of indicators of economic and social inclusion and found that equitable growth leads to a stronger local economy.

During a news conference at Civic Plaza, Mayor Tim Keller announced the city’s joint commitment with more than 30 local organizations and more than 150 national organizations to RacialEquityHere.org.

“This cycle of poverty in Albuquerque is not inevitable,” Keller said. “We believe that if we create an economy that works for all of us, we can have an inclusive economy and a place that provides for our children and enables our children to stay here and do what they love.”

The profile, prepared by PolicyLink and the University of Southern California’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and in collaboration with a host of community organizations, will serve as a guide for the city’s newly reorganized Office of Equity and Inclusion.

“While much has been written in the past about Albuquerque and New Mexico’s many challenges, this report is a first-of-its kind analysis that outlines how much Albuquerque, as a whole, has to gain from addressing racial and economic equity head-on,” said Michelle Melendez, director of the city’s Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Some key findings of the report include:

n Population growth in Albuquerque is being driven by communities of color — as of 2015, six in 10 Albuquerque residents are people of color, up from four in 10 in 1980. Forty-seven percent of the city’s residents identify as Latino or Hispanic, and the vast majority of them were born in the United States.

n This rapid demographic change has created a large “racial generation gap” in the city — 74 percent of Albuquerque’s youth are people of color, compared with 37 percent of seniors — a 38 percentage point difference. This gap is a risk because studies have found that a larger gap corresponds with lower investment in public education.

n Poverty and working poverty is on the rise in Albuquerque, and communities of color are most impacted by the lack of economic opportunity. Twenty-six percent of Native American women, 18 percent of Latino and Native American men, and 15 percent of Latina women are working full-time but earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $48,000 for a family of four).

Read the full report at: http://nationalequityatlas.org/reports/equity-profiles.

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