Brookings: The early results of states’ Opportunity Zones are promising, but there’s still room for improvement

Brookings, April 18, 2018: The early results of states’ Opportunity Zones are promising, but there’s still room for improvement

Eighteen states have submitted their selections of local neighborhoods that will qualify as “Opportunity Zones” under a new tax incentive created by Congress in last year’s tax bill.  These selections—and the characteristics of the neighborhoods themselves—will be important determinants of the ultimate success of the program. As I wrote in February just before the state selections were due, poor choices by states could turn a program meant to benefit residents of poor neighborhoods into a tax break for developers investing in already-gentrifying areas. With information in hand from 18 states, I describe the characteristics of neighborhoods that have been selected so far. (That information is also available in this file (.xls) for the remaining 32 states who have yet to select their Opportunity Zones).


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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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