Thursday, February 4, 2010

Education, African-Americans and Louisville

The Greater Louisville Project just released a study comparing Louisville to it's peer cities with concerns to educational attainment of Black folks in Louisville. As you may have guessed, Louisville ranks near the bottom. Here are some choice quotes:

"More alarming: Based on three years of data from the American Community Survey, 30% of white adults held a bachelor’s degree or higher, but only 13% of African Americans did – the lowest among Louisville’s 15 peer cities. The racial gap in college attainment has widened since 1990, although the percentage of African Americans with either an associate’s degree or some college has increased."

To better illustrate that point here is the chart from that same report:

Yes, there we are dead last. We also aren't doing so well with high school graduation rates either. All of this begs the question. Why? I think I may have a theory. I would argue the main reason is that African-Americans that have college degrees leave Louisville, or if they graduate from a local school they leave. Let's be honest. Louisville isn't Atlanta. We just don't offer the same, or any really, opportunities for young Black professionals. Most of the people I grew up with left and will never come back.

Louisville doesn't have enough "middle management" jobs in the 30-60K range. The ones that are here you pretty much have to know somebody to get your foot in the door. That's the other problem. Louisville is a cliquish city. If you run the right circles you will always be employed at some level. If you don't. Well, sorry about your luck.

Cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, and Chicago make it relatively easy for young blacks to move to and plug themselves in. Louisville doesn't.


  1. I meant to comment on this back when you first posted it and lost it in my archives.

    I'm curious about this point: "Let's be honest. Louisville isn't Atlanta. We just don't offer the same, or any really, opportunities for young Black professionals."

    Could you elaborate? Two people graduate from UL with a degree, one white, one black. Are you sugggesting there are less opportunities for the black person simply due to their skin color? If you are implying that level of racism still exists in this city then perhaps you should be advocating a mass exodus of African Americans as the most responsible thing they could do for themselves. Of course, I don't really see that myself, given that many of my colleagues are black, but maybe I am missing something.