Institute of Urban Policy

Income and Wealth Research

Issue Brief: The State of Small Black-Owned Businesses
Tracie Lowe
This issue brief gives an overview of the growth and challenges of small, Black-owned businesses in the United States, with a special focus on accessing funds and aid to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though programs were created to provide relief to small firms, there are concerns as to whether these measures will be enough for Black-owned businesses that have been historically disenfranchised. In this brief, we also discuss the credit application experience for Black-owned businesses, the ownership rates and growth of Black-owned businesses, and give three key policy recommendations for both federal and state leaders.

The State of Black Lives in Texas: Income & Poverty Report
Michele Rountree, PhD; Rosanna Barrett, PhD; Lauren Lluveras, JD; Nino Rodriguez, PhD; Richa Gupta, MPH; Ryan Carlino
This report is the fifth in a series that looks at various policy issues in Texas through a racial equity lens, with the goal of influencing policymakers to improve the lives of Black people in Texas. Covering the topic of income and poverty, the authors examine the causes and outcomes of income inequality and unemployment for Black Texans. They do this by discussing the historical background of poverty in the U.S., major factors that cause income instability for Black people, and examining data on the racial wealth gap.

Documenting Racial Disparities and Disproportionality
Jonathan L. Davis, MPAff; Karen Moran Jackson, PhD
Recent race-related events show racial disparity and injustice in our country, but many whites don't acknowledge that racial disparities are caused by racial bias; even though the Department of Justice found that racial disparity in Ferguson was caused by racial bias and discrimination. This brief argues that governement and societal systems have been discrimantory, disproportionally affecting African Americans. This argument is supported by documented discrimination within education, economic, legal, and health care systems.

A Stagnant Minimum Wage: A Form of Modern-Day Slavery?
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Kathryn A. Freeman, JD
A raised minimum wage would affect 1 in 3 Texas workers, as the state with the largest share of hourly paid workers. The minimum wage has been stagnant since 2009, while costs of living have not, increasing income gap and dependency on government services. This pattern can be traced back to the earliest form of wage policy, slavery; though workers are now paid, they are forced to live in substandard conditions. Many states have raised the minimum wage, and so far data shows improved economic conditions as a result.

The Lives of Blacks in Texas: Income and Poverty
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD; Jemel Aguilar, PhD; Chunhui Ren, PhD; Jennifer Alexander
Major findings discussed included: 2000 & 2010 African Americans had lowest overall median income of Texas major racial groups; 5 Texas counties with 5000+ African American population experience income decline; African Americans and Hispanics overrepresented in Texas poor population; 2000 & 2010 more than 70% of African American female-headed households in poverty.

Post-Legislative Session Report: Personal Finance
Kathryn A. Freeman, JD; Victor O. Obaseki, JD; Seth A. Kessler, MPA
This report looks at finance bills filed or pass in 83rd legislative session, considering Texas performs well financially based on unemployment rate, but not by many other indicators that affect low-income Texans. Bills were passed giving tax relief to businesses, but measures to improve financial stability of low-income Texans didn't gain widespread support or were vetoed.

Women of Color and Minimum Wage: A Policy of Racial, Gender, and Economic Discrimination
Shetal Vohra-Gupta, PhD
African American and Hispanic single mothers working full-time, low-wage jobs experience consistent poverty or threat of poverty. U.S. minimum wage policy disproportionately affects women, especially women of color. Texas has the most low-wage workers in the country and ranks sixth in people living in poverty.