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April 15, 2015 / Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

A “favored quarter” for jobs in the region

A new report by the Brookings Institution looks at the concentration of jobs within proximity to residents across the country and in the region. Job opportunities were found to be much more concentrated in a particular area, leaving those outside of it with far fewer options and potentially long-lasting consequences because of it (GGW, 4/14):

Jobs in the DC region are heavily concentrated in a “favored quarter” that starts downtown and stretches west-northwest. Residents in the ten-mile-wide circle that covers the northwest quadrant of DC, Arlington, and neighboring parts of Montgomery and Fairfax counties, can easily commute to about a million jobs.

For people in that area, chances are pretty good that one of those jobs will suit them.


Outside of the Beltway, the lack of job opportunity in Prince George’s and eastern Montgomery counties has depressed property values and ruined many families’ finances.

All of this leads to what social scientists call a “spatial mismatch” between jobs and affordable housing. Over time, a spatial mismatch can widen into what sociologist Robert Putnam calls an opportunity equality gap, disadvantaging families for multiple generations.

Related: A while back, WRAG published What Funders Need to Know: Does Housing + Transportation Costs = Affordable Living?, which looks at some of these issues in our region.

BUDGETS/DISTRICT | This week, we’re bringing you commentary from fiscal policy experts on the recently-released FY 2016 federal and state budgets for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. This time we have Ed Lazere, executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, discussing Mayor Bowser’s budget for 2016. (Daily, 4/14)

WORKFORCE |  Campaign to begin for a $15 minimum wage in D.C. (WaPo, 4/15)

– The New Communities Initiative, aimed at reviving distressed subsidized housing into mixed-income housing, has met a number of hurdles over the years. One of the projects appears to be gaining some traction with a proposal to build more low-income units, but many residents are concerned that the development would completely miss the mark on creating a more economically diverse community. (WCP, 4/14)

– The D.C. Council recently introduced a resolution to strengthen the city’s Inclusionary Zoning program in order to increase the stock of long-term affordable housing. (Coalition for Smarter Growth, 4/14)

– In a new study, the Urban Institute examines the growing economic divide among District residents in the city’s 179 neighborhoods. Since 1990, “challenged” neighborhoods – those where the unemployment rate, share of residents without a high school degree, and share of households headed by a single mother exceed the citywide average by at least 20 percent – were increasingly found to be clustered east of the river. (WCP, 4/14)

– It’s Tax Day! The Atlantic takes a look at the Earned Income Tax Credit’s (EITC) emotional and psychological benefits for many low-income Americans who get a rare opportunity to have extra money to spend around this time. (Atlantic, 4/14)

[…] the EITC can also lead to something more significant than money this tax season—a feeling of social inclusion and citizenship that might otherwise elude them. According to a new study, people who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides bigger refunds to low-income workers with children, are, for a time, privy to the optimism of the American dream, a sharp contrast to the feelings of stigmatization associated with receiving government benefits.

Where the poor and rich really spend their money (WaPo, 4/14)

EDUCATION | What Drives Public School Demand? Location, Location, Location. (WCP, 4/15)

Can you solve this math problem

– Ciara

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