By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Virginia Beach landed on the top spot of cities where African Americans fare best economically and where Black businesses thrive.

According to the personal finance website Smart Asset, Virginia Beach also has the seventh-highest median Black household income, at roughly $65,600, and the sixth-highest Black labor force participation rate, at 78.7 percent.
The statistics reflect 2019, the most recent data available.

Grand Prairie, Texas, Aurora, Illinois, Pembroke Pines, Florida, and Miramar, Florida, comprised the other cities in the top 5.

Charlotte, North Carolina, Garland, Texas, Durham, North Carolina, Enterprise, Nevada, and Elk Grove, California, rounded out the top 10.

The report noted the struggles of African Americans in homeownership and the overall wealth gap.
“Census data from 2019 shows that the median Black household income is 33 percent lower than the overall median household income.

Stephanie Horan wrote for Smart Asset that the Black homeownership rate is 22 percentage points lower than the general homeownership rate.”

She noted the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances data on wealth accumulation, depicting even starker disparities.

That data places Black families’ net worth at 87 percent lower than white families and 33 percent lower than Hispanic families.

For Virginia Beach, Census Bureau data revealed that the 2019 poverty rate for Black residents stood at 10 percent, the fourth-lowest in Smart Asset’s study.

More than 5 percent of businesses are Black-owned in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News metro area, the seventh-highest percentage overall for that metric.

Smart Asset officials reported that preliminary 2020 estimates show that Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by the health impacts of COVID-19 and its corresponding economic effects.
The authors wrote: “The regional economic effects of COVID-19 on Black Americans are difficult to determine due to insufficient localized data, but the available national data paints a grim picture: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that as of December 2020, the Black unemployment rate was 3.9

and 3.2 percentage points higher than the white and overall unemployment rates, respectively.”
The Black labor force participation rate was about 2.0 percentage points lower than both white and overall participation rates.

Horan offered three financial tips for African Americans, including checking if homeownership made sense, opening a retirement account, and considering a financial advisor.

“A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions to control your money better,” Horan wrote. “SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes.”