Report: Newark’s Renaissance Presents a Tale of Two Cities

Our new report, Racial Wealth Divide in Newark, was the subject of a panel discussion at the Prudential Center on October 31. Prosperity Now President Gary Cunningham was joined by city officials and advocates as well as our partners behind the report, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice and Prudential, the Newark-based insurance and financial company.

The panelists hashed over the findings, as well as the challenge of transferring some of the city’s new wealth to all of its residents.

The report traces the history of the city, founded by migrants and immigrants who built Newark into a thriving urban center, the state’s largest, with a population in 1930 of more than 440,000.  But white flight to the suburbs, accelerated during the 1967 civil unrest that blacks in the city refer to as “the rebellion,” left a town of 280,000 residents, mostly Black and Latino households living in segregated clusters.

In recent years, Newark has witnessed a transformation of sorts, evidenced by the Prudential Center sports and event arena and NJPAC arts center, the continued presence of Prudential in the city and gleaming corporate towers emblazoned with such names as Audible and Panasonic.

But the report shows how Newark’s story largely remains a tale of two cities, where the new capital wealth is not flowing to Newark’s minority neighborhoods. Jobless rates are 15.8% for blacks, 7.9% for Latinos, 6.2% for whites. And the median net worth for black families is $5,900, $7,020 for Latinos, and $309,000 for white families.

“This isn’t about data, alone. Data only tells part of the story, right?” said Gary Cunningham, president and CEO of Prosperity Now, a national group devoted to eradicating racial wealth inequality and supporting policy solutions that reduce those inequalities. “This is actually about transformation. It’s about us coming together as a community and creating a model city here in Newark.”

See a video and read more on NJTV News.

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