50 Top Colleges for African Americans. Higher education, technology, and healthcare received some of the highest satisfaction ratings from survey respondents. While the Kelseys’ daughter, Ashé, is only 3, the couple thinks highly of the area’s public school systems.
Another plus is that the cost of operating a business in the region is 12% below the national average. Some 40.5 out of every 1,000 black residents are entrepreneurs. The Kelseys, who own a primary residence and rental property, are among the 48.6% of the area’s black homeowners. It may not be well known but “Raleigh has a large number of black business owners and black millionaires,” says Richard.
–Carolyn M. Brown
“Hotlanta” has cooled off a bit since be’s 2004 ranking, slipping from the top spot to No. 2. That’s not to say that the metro didn’t have an impressive showing: It remains a major hub for the African Americans who make up 30.8% of its population. Residents enjoy the second-highest median annual household income on our list; only those residing in the Washington, D.C. metro area earn more.
The reason for Atlanta’s slide from the top spot can be found in the area’s black homeownership and foreclosure rates. For every 100 African Americans who live in Atlanta, 48 of them own a home, a decline from 55 in 2004. And at 4.4%, Atlanta’s foreclosure rate is one of the highest in the country.
But newlyweds Shana and Michael Davis have found Atlanta to be their haven. The couple recently bought a five-bedroom home on a 1.5-acre lot for $439,600–higher than the city’s median home value of $177,200–in the same Cascade neighborhood where U.S. Rep. John Lewis resides. At $225,000, the Davis’ household income tops the median as well. Aside from being a vice president of communications for financial services monolith Citigroup, Shana, 31, is a marketing and event consultant who also dabbles in real estate. Michael, 41, serves as the client director for computer giant Hewlett-Packard’s Latin American division. “The cost of living is great,” says Shana. “This is a town where entrepreneurs, young or old, can start and grow businesses because of the resources here, in comparison to other cities.”
Our survey respondents agree with Davis, noting a high level of satisfaction with entrepreneurial opportunities in the city. Atlanta is home to 64,000 black-owned businesses, from mom-and-pop stores to BE 100S companies, including H.J. Russell & Co. (No. 16 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $316.9 million in sales).
The city also holds a large concentration of major corporations. As a result, the area leads the nation in attracting young, highly-educated black professionals, according to a recent Atlanta Chamber of Commerce study.
Washington, D.C. Metro
What makes the Washington, D.C., Metro area a great place for couples like Hank and Vicki Williams? The lure of good jobs and getting paid top dollar. “I’ve been in this area more than 20 years,” says Hank, 52, a native of Pittsburgh who now resides in Beltsville, Maryland, in Prince George’s County. “I moved because of the opportunities