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Blueprint data tells sad story of inequity

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

Working for Prosper Waco has been a very rewarding experience and has molded the way I view the community. We work across education, health, and financial security but what we have seen is that these areas intersect. Most recently we have spent lots of time studying the City of Waco’s Financial Empowerment Blueprint. Due to my education background I am always seeing how education is connected with other areas and how data tells a story. Sometimes data tells a good story but oftentimes it tells a story that makes us uncomfortable.

In the Financial Empowerment Blueprint there are two data points that jump out to me and make me uncomfortable. They are the 4-year college degree attainment and the income poverty rate.


4-year college degree attainment – percent of population 25 years old and over who have at least a 4 year degree Average Black Latino White

Waco 22.9% 7.6% 11.3% 35.1%

Texas 30.3% 15.2% 25% 39.3%

(American Community Survey 2013 – 2017)


Income poverty rate – percent of households with income below the federal poverty threshold Average Black Latino White

Waco 18.7% 30.4% 27.3% 7.6%

Texas 14% 19.9% 20.6% 8.7%

(American Community Survey 2013 – 2017)

When I look at these numbers I am perplexed by the low numbers of Black and Latino Wacoans who do not have a 4-year degree. I am troubled by the high numbers of income poverty rates among Black and Latino Wacoans. Why has this happened? Who are the partners or programs necessary to help bridge these gaps? Why are we below the state averages? Why does Waco’s data not match up with the state? Lots of questions come to mind when we study data.

What I do know is that this did not happen overnight and this is not one sector’s problem to solve. We as a community must band together to create collaborative solutions for all Wacoans but specifically Wacoans of color. I, for sure, am uncomfortable with this data and the inequities that jump off the page, but I am very hopeful because of the talented people and organizations that are working to close these gaps.

There are a number of great initiatives going on and more that are coming together. In the coming months I will share some of the projects that are coming together. If you want to have a conversation about this and/or other topics about our community please feel free to reach out —

Hermann Pereira is chief program officer with Prosper Waco and leads the nonprofit’s education and workforce initiatives.


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