Houston, Atlanta top cities for young blacks

Forbes magazine is preparing the next edition of its annual Best Places for Business & Careers; a ranking of cities designed to help companies and workers identify the best potential moves.

Black Enterprise, CNN/Money and CityRating.com all create similar lists for groups like African-Americans, comparing everything from cost of living to job growth. Each list uses different criteria to formulate rankings and the result standings vary.

A few cities such as Dallas and Washington D.C., earn high marks on nearly every list, ranking high in salary growth, diversity and real estate rates. After a cross section of each list, only two cities stood out as the best for young, single African-Americans seeking jobs after graduation.

In 2001, Houston was Black Enterprise’s best city for African Americans. Known as the largest city in the south, Houston is home to Citgo and Continental Airlines. Houston headquarters 18 Fortune 500 companies, second only to New York. The city saw job growth of 1.8 percent, while residents saw average wage growth of 2.7 percent.

“Houston is a great place to live,” said Nathan Jones, a graduating business student from Houston, who plans to return. Land is cheap, so if you work for a few years you can own your own home.”

While Houston may be one of the better markets to work in, it’s not always the best place to live. Students looking to escape the constant barrage of tropical storms battering Florida will find little relief in Texas.

African American’s make up nearly 61 percent of Atlanta’s population and have boasted the homeownership rate for blacks to 55 percent; more than one-third of black households have an annual income of more than $50,000. Atlanta is the home of five Fortune 500 companies, which include Coca-Cola, United Parcel Service and Home Depot.

Atlanta houses some of the major historical black Universities and employs many young African-Americans. Reasonable housing, and a steady employment market, collegiate African-Americans foster a great range of cultural activities in Atlanta.

“Any city with historically black colleges, fortune 500 companies and a black majority is going to be a heaven for black graduates,” said Robert Bryant, a graduating music student from Atlanta.

Atlanta’s positives are also accompanied with crime. Atlanta’s crime rate is more than three times the national average. Atlanta City Hall earmarked $80 billion to overhaul sewer systems, and expand the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. “Most cities would die to have that problem,” said Shirley Franklin, Atlanta’s first African-American and female mayor.

Contact Lefran Lloyd at famuanbusiness@hotmail.com