Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Why should an African American (ADOS) parent raise their children in the city of Chicago?
One key issue is that Chicago, as it’s well known, is an incredibly segregated city. Black kids growing up in the center of the city often in neighborhoods have very poor opportunities in terms of schools, high crime, and more broadly, a lack of access to mentoring and social capital networks that might help you rise up. It’s specifically black men who have very poor chances of rising up in Chicago; black women kind of do OK. So that suggests it might have something to do with the criminal justice system — lots of low-income black men are getting involved in crime, perhaps getting incarcerated, and then obviously have poor economic prospects after that.
The city has the biggest gap in terms of rates of upward mobility for black men growing up in low-income families relative to white men growing up in low-income families. So, to put it differently, if you’re growing up in a family earning, say, $25,000 a year, your odds of rising up are pretty good if you’re a white kid growing up in Chicago, but are extremely poor if you’re a black kid, and that gap is the biggest gap of the 50 largest cities in America. Most cities, if they’re pretty good for white men, they’re also decently good for black men. Chicago is one of those unique places where it’s quite good for white men, near the top among big cities, yet it’s near the bottom for black men.
Harvard economist Raj Chetty