Report offers stark picture of inequalities by gender, race in Pittsburgh |

Report offers stark picture of inequalities by gender, race in Pittsburgh

Bob Bauder
Bob Bauder | Tribune-Review
Junia Howell, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Black women in Pittsburgh are more likely to have a baby die during pregnancy than black women in most other cities in the country, according to a report released Tuesday. But that’s only one serious gender and racial inequality that exists among the city’s population.

The 95-page “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race” report, prepared by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, found major gaps in health, income, employment and education among whites, blacks and other minorities, including Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans.

The Gender Equity Commission, an anti-discrimination group created by the city, will use the information to craft a five-year plan for addressing inequalities.

“There’s a lot of poverty within the city of Pittsburgh and we deal with the symptoms of the poverty, but we have a great opportunity if we can get this data and be able to give people an opportunity for an equal playing field,” Mayor Bill Peduto said. “What we need are major employers in this town — our largest institutions — using this same data in order to change Pittsburgh, and then we need our corporate community. Look at the people around you, the people who don’t have as much as you do, the ones you walk with in Downtown Pittsburgh, and start asking: What are you doing to make their lives better?”

The report found that 18 out of every 1,000 pregnancies for black women in Pittsburgh end in fetal death, compared to nine of every 1,000 for white women and two of every 1,000 for other minorities.

It found that more than one-third of black women live in poverty and are five times more likely to be poor than white men.

Black men are more segregated to certain jobs, compared to Pittsburgh’s white male workforce, which is more evenly distributed across occupations.

Junia Howell, an assistant professor of sociology at Pitt and an author of the report, said white men and women in Pittsburgh are comparable to those living in other U.S. cities across health, employment income and educational lines. But for black residents, the data shows a striking difference.

In essence, Howell said, “If black residents got up today and left and moved to most any other city in the U.S., automatically, by just moving, their life expectancy would go up, their income would go up, their educational opportunities for their children would go up as well as their employment.”

The report was the first of four that the Pitt team will produce in coming months. Peduto said it’s the first time that any city in the country has information comparing race and gender inequalities to other cities indicating specifically where the greatest inequity exists.

He said the city would be able to find solutions by creating policy based on the data. The Gender Equity Commission will use the information to craft a five-year plan for addressing inequalities.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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