Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Our Young Adults Deserve Better Than Detroit by Akindele Akinyemi

I can clearly see why Black people are moving out of Michigan. Detroit is a miserable place to live and as long as we have the same tax and government structure in place we will never seek prosperity.
I have been talking to several people outstate and they often ask me why I am still in Michigan when I could be making money, dating southern belles and opening charter schools. They think I am crazy for staying in Michigan and staying in Detroit of all places.
First, let's look at the top 10 places for African Americans to live in the United States.
"Hotlanta" continues its legendary draw in business, housing, and education. Atlanta moved to the top of the list, driven primarily by respondents' high level of satisfaction with entrepreneurial opportunities, earnings potential, and cultural activities. Future job growth is strong at 23%–the highest of the entire 10 finalists. Atlanta is home to a high number of black-owned businesses.African Americans make up 61% of Atlanta's population.
U.S. Census data reveals that the metropolitan area's black population increased by more than 38% between 1990 and 2000. "Most cities would die to have that problem," counters Atlanta's first woman and first black female mayor, Shirley Franklin. Stepping up to the challenge of addressing the city's infrastructure needs brought on by the population boom, City Hall approved $3.3 billion for water and sewer system expansion, $73 billion for transportation upgrades, and a $5.5 billion expansion of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
The southern hub houses are some of the wealthiest enclaves of African American families, coming in fourth for incomes topping $100,000. Over a third of black Atlantans have an annual household income of more than $50,000, second to Washington, D.C., on BE's list. More than 55% of black Atlantans are homeowners.
A city that once earned a reputation as the "murder capital," Washington, D.C., is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. The violent crime rate for the nation's capital is well below the average for other top 10 cities. Still, survey respondents expressed overall dissatisfaction with public safety.
African Americans, who constitute 60% of Washington's total population, are among the nation's best educated and highest paid. The city tops the list with 81.3% of African Americans holding high school diplomas and places first with 24.1% earning bachelor's degrees. The metropolitan area boasts the highest black household incomes among the top 10 and 45.7% of black families earn $50,000-plus.
Washington D.C. is a hot bed for charter schools.
Dallas placed third among the top 10 cities in median household income for black families, future job growth, and black high school graduation rate. Survey respondents had mixed reactions about this Sun Belt city. They were pleased with Dallas' cost of living and the quality of medical care. Although the city's cost of living index is below the national average, its medical cost index is well above it and there are relatively low numbers of doctors per capita.
"Music City U.S.A." is on point with their low cost of living as the biggest draw. Only Houston and Memphis had lower cost of living indices than Nashville. The cost of living compared to other large cities is amazingly low. That provides an opportunity for a person to take a medium-level job and live comfortably, or start a career here and be able to grow and advance and not be so overly concerned about income.
This is key, given the median black household income is $33,630 and just a little more than one-fourth earn beyond $50,000. Despite overall and black unemployment rates that are well below national averages and future job growth at 20.7% –second to Atlanta–respondents were unenthusiastic about their job prospects.
"Rocket City's" is one of the best cities for African Americans to raise a family. Five other top cities fared better than Houston in terms of its median black household income ($35,562), percentage of black households earning more than $50,000 annually (29.1%), and number of black homeowners (51.8%).
Houston received high satisfaction ratings from respondents for quality of life. Indeed, the city's cost of living index is well below the national average and second only to Memphis. The average price for a new home, at just under $180,000, is the best among the top 10 cities. Next to Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, black businesses abound in Houston, which has 30 African American residents for every black business. Moreover, African Americans constitute 25% of 2 million residents and own nearly 24,286 businesses, more than one-fifth of the city's total.
The "Queen City" is one of the few cities without an African American mayor. Black families are satisfied with the overall power and influence of Charlotte's black community.
The metropolitan area earned high marks for cost of living, diversity, and economic growth. Respondents also were satisfied with the quality of healthcare, even though Charlotte's number of physicians per capita is the lowest among the top 10 and well below the national average.
Charlotte is a youthful, mobile hub for professionals (the median age of Charlotte-Mecklenburg's population is 32.8). Residents expressed satisfaction with earnings potential and career opportunities. Future job growth is fairly strong at 18.7%. Nearly 76,000 jobs were created by $8.6 billion invested in new business development over the past decade.
Birmingham is the least populous city but it has a city population that is nearly 75% African American. A city historically known as one of the major front lines in the civil rights movement, Birmingham continues to have a relatively high black/white residential segregation rate. It's no surprise respondents were less than satisfied with race relations in their city.
Birmingham graduates 14.6% of African Americans from four-year colleges. The city's black high school graduation rate is 74.2%. Respondents were pleased with healthcare. Birmingham has the third lowest medical cost index.
Situated on the Lower Chickasaw Bluff above the Mississippi river, Memphis is home to the blues, the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, and 397,702 African Americans who make up 61% of the total population.
What makes Memphis appealing? Affordable housing. Black homeownership at 57% is above the national average, and second only to Birmingham, Alabama. The average price for a new home is $183,095, the lowest next to Houston. Memphis' cost of living is the lowest among the top 10 and its medical cost index is well below the national average.
A newcomer to the top 10 list, Columbus is set apart by its location. It is bucking the trend of population decline suffered by other Midwestern cities. Since 1990, the city's population has increased 12.4%, according to 2000 Census figures.
The city's cost of living and medical cost indices are below the national averages, and the number of doctors per capita is above the national average. Future job growth is a respectable 15.3% for a city with diverse economic sectors ranging from technology to education.
Baltimore is jam-packed with black-oriented cultural and recreational activities. Families remain content with earnings potential, cost of living, healthcare, and housing prices. While the city's medical cost index is below average, its cost of living index is above the national average. About 32.2% of black households earn more than $50,000, third after Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. The average new home sells for $206,862.
While these 10 cities have their problems none are like Detroit. The Motor City was listed as the most miserable city by Forbes magazine. To tell you the truth I do not blame them for calling our city miserable. The only way Detroit will be able to come back is less taxes, more educational options, and transforming Detroit into a free market financial market sinilar to Singapore or Hong Kong. Politcal leadership is stagnant for that every single election we find is someone from the Cheeks-Kilpatrick family, Lemmons family, Leland family, Conyers family, Cockrel family, Young family and many others who dominate the political landscape here in this city.
Until we want serious change in our community (and that means voting other than Democratic) we will not see anything different. For those who want to stay and change Detroit that is great. Just keep in mind that this city will stress you out. If you think I am lying look at your Detroit City Council. Kay Everett died in office, Brenda Scott died in office, Maryann Mahaffey died (even though she was old she could have lived another 5 years), Brenda Jones have gained a significant amount of weight, so has Jo Ann Watson and Barbara Rose Collins. The mayor is a cheat and liar. The Black Church has failed Black people in Detroit. No one is married in this city. Unemployment is sky high. Education is placed on the backburner. Foreclosures are high.
If you want to stay here I highly recommend that you think out the box. Maybe if we would stop voting the same pattern year after year and start talking economics we could help bring back Detroit.
Other than that our young people will continue to move out of state. I do not blame them at all.

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