Exploring the Political Climate in Columbia, Maryland

In Howard County, Maryland, the last presidential election saw an overwhelming majority of people voting for the Democratic Party, with 70.7% of the votes. The Republican Party received 26.4%, and the remaining 2.9% went to other parties. The DMV area (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) was recently ranked among the 50 best places to live in the United States by Money magazine. It is well known that in every city in the United States, there are significant economic disparities between white people and people of color.

To explore this further, the Race, Prosperity, and Inclusion Initiative conducted a study on the current contours of economic opportunities in five counties and Washington DC. The results showed that within these five counties and in Washington DC, there were the largest negative racial disparities in life expectancy, income, unemployment, and poverty. These disparities were most prominent east of the Anacostia River. It is clear that policymakers have an opportunity to do more to support the economic and overall well-being of residents living in these communities.

For example, Prince George's County has the highest rate of black homeownership among the jurisdictions analyzed. Homeownership depends on a complex set of factors, but it is clear that Prince George's County offers some important lessons about homeownership for black people that could serve as a basis for other efforts to increase the wealth of communities of color throughout the DMV. The study also found that Latinos experienced the greatest negative disparities in education in all of the jurisdictions analyzed. However, Washington DC had the highest high school graduation rate among Latinos.

This is promising, so it would be valuable to understand what is driving this trend in Washington DC. Additionally, Asians experienced disproportionately high poverty rates of 20.5% in Arlington County. It is important to consider these nuances and for policymakers to address and provide opportunities for cross-fertilization of policy approaches throughout the DMV. Overall, it is evident that metropolitan areas such as DMV don't offer the same opportunities as their white counterparts when it comes to hiring, homeownership, and education policies and practices.

Local policymakers should focus on promoting opportunities for higher incomes, homeownership rates, educational opportunities and environments, and services that promote better health and wellness outcomes. Maryland's economy continues to outperform the country as a whole due to its information technology, telecommunications, aerospace and defense industries. In addition, Maryland is a leading leader in biotechnology and is at the center of human genome mapping and its commercial applications. Research parks facilitate joint research between universities, state and federal government institutions, and private industry which further reinforces innovations in Maryland's economy.

Maryland also ranked first in terms of business concentration and jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The state continues to invest in education to prepare its citizens for growth in sectors that require highly educated workers. Maryland borders the District of Columbia (the country's capital) and is a few hours overland from New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Alexandria was also included in Conde Nast Traveler's list of the five best small cities for the fifth year in a row.

The University of Maryland in Baltimore County leads a consortium of universities and private sector companies to develop the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology.

Douglas Bigby
Douglas Bigby

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