An Equity Profile of the Los Angeles Region highlights the widening inequities in income, wealth, health, and opportunity in Los Angeles County. The report was developed by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC, and is supported by the Weingart Foundation.

While the nation is projected to become a people-of-color majority by the year 2044, Los Angeles reached that milestone in the 1980s. Los Angeles’ diversity is a major asset in the global economy, but inequities and disparities are holding the region back. The report underscores how closing racial gaps in economic opportunity and outcomes will be key to the region’s future.

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The 2017 Equity Profile of the Los Angeles Region summary was released at the Weingart Foundation’s “Achieving Equity” convening in Los Angeles on March 2nd, 2017.

Report findings include:

1. Since 1979 the highest-paid workers have seen their wages increase by 13 percent while wages for the lowest-paid workers have declined by 25 percent.

2. Los Angeles County’s economy was hit hard by the downtown of the early 1990s and job growth and economic output have lagged behind the national average since then.

3. Since 1990, poverty and working poverty rates in the region have been consistently higher than the national averages.

4. While the pursuit of education has increased for all youth, youth of color are still far less likely to finish high school than their white counterparts.

If racial gaps in income and employment were closed, the LA economy would be nearly $380 billion stronger. To build a more equitable region, leaders in the private, public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors must commit to putting all residents on the path to economic security through equity-focused strategies and policies that grow good jobs, build capabilities, remove barriers, and expand opportunities for the people and places being left behind.

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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.

    Publications Directory

    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.

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