No, I did not make a typo in my headline; the Pioneer Institute has just released a study that notes that most of Massachusetts’ urban areas are struggling.
This mirrors what the left-leaning MassInc has been saying for years. Although the two organizations may choose to emphasize different reasons for the issue (Pioneer stresses the loss of manufacturing jobs; MassInc also emphasizes laws such as Proposition 2.5 which has widened the gap between rich and poor communities), both groups seem to agree that this should be a concern for the state.
There are some really interesting facts presented in the Pioneer report which may surprise people. For example:
- Did you know that there are six cities in which the per-capita income is less than half of the state average? (Lawrence, Springfield, Holyoke, Fall River, New Bedford, and Fitchburg)
- Did you know that of the 15 “Middle Cities” listed in the Pioneer report, in 1979 they had per-capita income level of about 82% of the state average; in 2009, they had per-capita incomes of about 55% of the state average? That is a tremendous decline.
- Did you know that from 1992 to 2012, the state’s equalized property value grew at a rate of 7.92%, while the Middle Cities EQV grew at a rate of 2.66%, and that Springfield and Holyoke’s EQV grew a paltry 1.55% and 1.73% respectively?
Pioneer’s paper does accurately portray the challenges facing these cities (including issues with schools and crime); it does not, however, move beyond that to propose any solutions.
Now that we have both a right-leaning and a left-leaning organization making the same exact point. What is stopping the state from focusing some more attention here?