September 5, 2017
By Manuel Pastor, Justin Scoggins, and Sarah Treuhaft
Please note: reports dated earlier than June 2020 were published under our previous names: the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) or the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII).
In 2015, 78 percent of America’s seniors were white while 49 percent of the nation’s youth were people of color—a phenomenon that we call the racial generation gap. To the extent that racial divides result in predominantly white seniors choosing not to invest in a more racially diverse young population, this could hamstring the development of the next generation of workers and leaders. This research brief by PolicyLink and USC PERE examines the growth of the racial generation gap and its effect on per-child k-12 education spending.
We find that every percentage-point increase in the racial generation gap is associated with a decrease in state and local per-child education spending of around 1.5 percent. This adds up in places that have seen a lot of demographic change. For example, Nevada’s spending could be about $2,600 more per student if there was no rise in racial generation gap since 1990.
Given this relationship, it is critical to ensure equitable school funding, direct investments in youth, and build multi-generational coalitions for change.
Read our other publications by research area
Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice
Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.
Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity
In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.
Social Movements & Governing Power
ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.
In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).
The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.