black political clout.
Our analysis did not stop there. Using a series of statistical data, the list was then narrowed to 13 metro areas. Heavier weighting was applied to seven of the 22 factors—”super factors”—that pertain specifically to African Americans:
Black median household income compared with overall median household income
Percent of black households earning greater than $100,000 divided by the percent of all households earning greater than $100,000 per year
Black unemployment rate
Number of black-owned businesses per 1,000
Percentage of black home loan rejections
Percentage of black college graduates
Black homeownership rate
By combining survey response scores with the quality of life scores, we arrived at a final ranking of the top 10 cities for African Americans.
Top 10 highlights reveal:
- All have a higher percentage of black high school graduates than the national average
- Nine have a higher percentage of black college graduates than the national average
- Nine have black unemployment rates below the national average
- Seven boast median black household incomes above the national average
- Eight reveal a cost of living index less than the national average
- Four out of 10 have a black mayor
On the following pages, find out why residents of these top 10 cities wouldn’t want to live, work, and play anywhere else.
When Carene John, a native of Brooklyn, moved to Jacksonville, she admits that “the first year was a bit of a culture shock.” She made the move in 1998 for love, following then boyfriend Maurio L. Farmer, who had relocated from Atlanta. Eleven years later, the young couple, both 33, has comfortably settled into life in this small metropolis where nearly 25% of the population is African American.
“Jacksonville is very family-oriented,” says John, a medical services company supervisor. The mother of two, Cy, 7, and Camryn, 2, loves the Sunshine State’s pleasing temperatures and stresses that the city has an abundance of parks and beaches. “It is important to us as parents to expose our children to new and exciting things,” adds Farmer, who works for Merrill Lynch’s mutual and money fund services team. The couple is also partial to the school system.
Jointly bringing in $80,000 annually, the couple’s earnings significantly exceed the city’s median household income of $47,323. Black residents in Jacksonville enjoy having a place they own: nearly 50% are homeowners. Farmer recently moved his family into a three bedroom, two-bath home complete with a backyard and two-car garage. The couple paid $230,000 for their brand-new 2,000-square-foot development. This is somewhat higher than the average home in Jacksonville, valued at around $162,000.
Another notable feature is Jacksonville’s flourishing downtown area, where there is no shortage of art galleries, museums, theaters, restaurants, and bars or clubs. “They’re building high-rises and condos, really making it a place where people can live and work,” says John. “We just like the laid-back feel of it.”
–Tennille M. Robinson
Entrepreneur Anthony B. Redic gives kudos to Columbus, Ohio’s Mayor Michael B. Coleman, who is African American and serving in his second term. “City contracts with minority- and women-owned businesses have increased since his first term in office,” says the founder