New Report Shows Lagging Public Transit Infrastructure is Preventing People of Color from Fully Participating in Our Economy

Release Date: 
November 15, 2017

Underfunding Public Transit Disproportionally Hurts African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans 

New York, NY– Today, Demos released a new report entitled “‘To Move is to Thrive’: Public Transit and Economic Opportunity for People of Color”. The report outlines the disproportionate impact that public transit funding has on the economic opportunities available to people of color in the United States. The data show that African-Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans are much more likely to use public transit to travel and in turn depend on that infrastructure in their daily lives. The report goes on to note that when infrastructure investments are made, communities of color prosper and when budgets are cut, communities of color are the most impacted.  

The report concludes that if we want all Americans to participate fully in our economy, we need to greatly improve our public transportation infrastructure in order to provide equal access to the American Dream.

Other key findings include:  

  • Latino and Asian-American workers are twice as likely as white workers not to have a vehicle at home. African American workers are three times as likely.
  • Workers of color are overrepresented among public transit commuters with many enduring “long commutes”— which Demos categorizes as one-way commutes of 60 minutes or longer.

“Our crumbling infrastructure is having a significant impact on the economic prosperity of people of color – who we find are more likely to use public transportation, less likely to own a car and more likely to suffer through lengthy commutes. This inequity hinders communities of color from fully participating in our economy and achieving the American Dream,” said Algernon Austin, Economist at Demos. He continued, “It’s time to make smart public transit investments that boost the economic stability of working families, especially families color, while improving the economy for everyone.”

This report comes after Demos, a member for the Millions of Jobs coalition, urged congress to fully fund our nations much needed infrastructure needs and support the principles laid out in House Resolution 63 a bill that supports efforts to enact a bold jobs and infrastructure package that benefits all Americans, not just billionaires.