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8 Of The Best Cities In America For Black Women

You would think that navigating the country and living within the confines of our complete selves would be unchallenged.

Life & Travel

As a black woman living in a country with a black woman Vice President for the first time in history, you would think that navigating the country and living within the confines of our complete selves would be an unchallenged occurrence. But in reality, it's just not. Instead, we live in an exclusive society that only we marvel in; a society where we know what that look from a fellow sis means when coworkers begin asking about our hair, or relating to anyone of us being told that we're "too aggressive" for speaking up for ourselves.


Through our work, entrepreneurship, political participation, and more, we're creating opportunities for ourselves and families and improving the U.S. economy and society, and yet, there aren't many places that allow us to step outside of our self-conjured exclusivity, and simply...exist. And maybe there never will be. But for now, there are a few cities that allow us to wear our fros without question on Monday, and a 36-inch body wave, without even thinking twice about it, on Wednesday.

So, in honor of being a black woman, here's a list of 8 of the best cities in America for black women:

(Any data stated was pulled from a 2020 Bloomberg CityLab study)

Washington D.C.

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Overall, hands down, and without a doubt, the best place for black women to live in America is Washington D.C. It was no coincidence that 91% of voting black women voted for Joe Biden, and 92% of votes cast in D.C. went to Joe Biden.

We're a plethora there.

The women are educated, hold stable income statuses and accomplishments, and mean business, nothing less. Most of this is attributed to that fact that D.C. is home to numerous universities and hospitals, including John Hopkins, Howard University, and George Washington, and have a strong focus on military posts and public sector institutions. According to Bloomberg CityLab, the public sector in D.C. is key, as the government is the second-largest employer of black women overall (and the largest for black men), and the DMV region has the densest concentration of federal government jobs in the nation.

Add in the local government workforce, and it all makes sense. Oh yeah, and the fact that D.C.'s mayor is a black woman.

Baltimore

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Baltimore is almost identical to Washington D.C., as they fall into most of the same categories, being that is also in the DMV and most occupants live in either interchangeably. Baltimore falls short in health, a reflection of the city's extraordinarily high rates of maternal and infant mortality, cancer, domestic violence, police violence, and poverty, but they recently elected a new mayor who has the task of getting these under control.

Full of artists, entrepreneurs, poets, makers, politicians, authors, community organizers, teachers, and activists, Baltimore also ranks high for black women due to accessibility of the same amenities as D.C. But you can expect those distinguishable thick northern accents with a little southern drawl ("Bal-da-more", "tew") to go right along with it.

Raleigh

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No state is better represented among the top metros for black women than North Carolina, as Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte have highly ranked respectively. They may not have a huge market for government sector jobs like the DMV, but Raleigh has a plethora of resources for jobs in the private sector, as they represent one of the top regions for African-American employment in general. Hallelu.

A common trend, is the variety of higher education institutions (North Carolina is home to 12 historically black colleges and universities, tied with Alabama for most HBCUs in one state) which have ultimately spurred the tech and innovation markets to shape the region for much of the 21st century.

Additionally, Raleigh only comes second to Washington D.C. in terms of an economical livability index.

Houston

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There are 1.8 million black women who currently reside in Houston, in comparison to 1.7 million men. It's a great place for young professionals, and it's one of the largest cities in the US, with no income tax, and a label as 2019's most diverse city in the US. The economy is booming, and the cost-of-living is cheap. Houston single-handedly dismisses the narrative that successful and important entrepreneurs have to live in much larger cities such as NYC or Los Angeles.

It's basically the perfect place for experiencing a major city, while being fiscally responsible.

(*whispers* and Bey is from there)

Atlanta

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Thank God for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Listen, like any other city, Atlanta certainly has its issues. But these issues could be exponentially greater if it weren't for her. Mayor Bottoms has taken Atlanta to new heights on a national scale, has unapologetically enforced her policies, and has showed up time after time ready to represent for black women, mothers, and professionals, Elected in 2017, Lance Bottoms has gained national recognition for her leadership of Atlanta, she has also become an early and important ally to Joe Biden, and has frequently received praise for being outspoken in criticizing state and national leaders during the nonstop hindrance of black progression during the pandemic as she famously stated, "… you're not going to out-concern me and out-care about where we are in America."

Queen.

Because of this, Atlanta, which has always been a safe haven for black women, has now catapulted and evolved even more in the forefront of being one of the best cities in America for black women. Atlanta is the number one metro area for annual black migration, due to its long known reputation as a center of black wealth, higher education, political power and culture. Some of the greatest and best to ever do it, have emerged from Atlanta (an accolade usually upheld by much larger cities). And its longstanding history of black empowerment, from the Civil War, to MLK marches, has placed its progressive agenda into a realm at which its history emerges full circle.

Dallas

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Another high-ranking city on the annual migration list is Dallas, TX, drawing a yearly average of 7,678 new residents. For the most part, the South is paramount for black women's chances at upward mobility, and many women are taking notice. Dallas has a great mix of hustle and bustle, and quiet suburban life and although it is a major city, the cost-of-living is incomparable to other large cities.

In fact, the cost of living is lower than the national average.

Hot enough to highlight your melanin, and diverse enough to enjoy it, Dallas is a safe bet for your well-being.

Seattle

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Seattle is another underdog for black sustainability, as families and black women are thriving economically and socially. With a growing black and Caribbean population, a low unemployment rate, and a general liberal perspective to political issues, Seattle has become a place to settle down. What's most interesting is they too have a long history of marching and civil rights, although somewhat quiet. It's not a "black mecca" and the black community may not be as loud and boisterous as places such as Atlanta or Baltimore, but Seattle is a great place to regroup and start over.

If you crave a sense of community, don't plan to stay too long. Come for the self-care.

Boston

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Believe it or not, this decade, Massachusetts had the fastest growing black population in the northeast by a lot, primarily in Boston. They have an above average black birth rate, and one of the fastest rising black incomes. Black women who live in Boston are likely to be high wage-earners (based on the higher overall income of citizens due to the many well-paying tech and bio-med jobs), be healthier (due to high-performing hospitals and also because they understand that better educated people who earn more money, are also likely to be healthier on average), and higher educational backgrounds (because these industries attract, recruit, and outsource for candidates).

But there is black population growth, and you will have no problem finding a cohort of black people to live, work and party with. If you want to hang out with just HBCU college grads, they're there. When you want to ski with Black skiers, they're there. If you are an accountant, an engineer, a black social worker, a government employee, an educator and you want to be with these black people, they are there and ready to network with you.

Are you a member of our insiders squad? Join us in the xoTribe Members Community today!

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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