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Ranked: 10 Best U.S. Cities for Advancing Black Male Achievement

Detroit took the top spot in a new ranking of 50 cities’ efforts on improving the advancement of black men and boys. (Photo by Shawn Wilson)

Detroit, Oakland and Washington, D.C., are leading the nation’s cities when it comes to advancing opportunity for black men, according to a new ranking by the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The national U.S. network is dedicated to improving the lives of black men and boys, and aimed to create this first-ever index to measure what 50 cities are doing regarding that improvement. The plan is to release an updated ranking every two years.

According to the report, the 50 cities “are home to approximately 5.5 million Black males, more than 30 percent of all Black men and boys in the United States. … Black men and boys face unique challenges on the path to success in education, work and life. Statistics about disparities in these areas are widely cited, e.g. 12 percent of Black boys are at or above proficiency in 8th grade reading versus 31 percent of all boys, and the Black male unemployment rate of 15 percent is nearly double the 8 percent rate for all males. … Less commonly known, however, is the data illustrating the unique structural challenges and unequal access to opportunity that contribute to these disparities.”

Five categories were considered in determining each city’s spot in the ranking: demographics around race and gender; a local presence of the CBMA national network; and, in terms of helping black men and boys, commitment of local resources, the adoption of supportive national programs (such as President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative), and targeted philanthropy. The top 10 cities, those with the highest scores, are:

1. Detroit
2. Oakland
3. Washington, D.C.
4. New Orleans
5. Baltimore
6. Boston
7. Charlottesville, Virginia
8. Philadelphia
9. New York
10. Pittsburgh

Detroit, Oakland and D.C. all have a total score of 95. Some of the index’s lowest-ranking cities include San Diego, Oklahoma City and Columbus, Georgia, with total scores ranging from 15 to 25. The report concludes, “The Black Male Achievement City Index shows we all have a lot more work to do to improve life outcomes for Black men and boys. Even those cities that score highly and are investing resources to carry out initiatives supporting Black men and boys should not see this accomplishment as an end goal in itself, but rather as a point of departure to tangibly improve life outcomes.”

Specific data for each of the 50 cities can be viewed here.