NEW YORK, June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- BLACK ENTERPRISE today revealed its 2004 list of the Top Cities for African Americans to Live, Work, and Play. The top picks were culled from more than 4,000 interactive surveys completed on http://www.blackenterprise.com and by editorial staff evaluations. Survey respondents placed a high priority on income earnings potential, cost of living, housing prices, and entrepreneurial opportunities. When be first published this list in 2001, four of the top 10 cities were in the South. This year seven out of 10 are below the Mason-Dixon Line. Five out of 10 have a black mayor, and all have a black population of at least 25%. Eight of 10 have a cost of living index that is less than the national average. Seven cities have returned in 2004, while Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit have fallen off the list. Newcomers are Nashville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and Columbus, Ohio. Atlanta, Georgia, ranks as the No. 1 city for African Americans, driven primarily by entrepreneurial opportunities, earnings potential, and cultural activities. Future job growth is strong at 23%, and Atlanta is home to a high number of black-owned businesses. African Americans make up 61% of Atlanta's population. Washington, D.C., ranks as the No. 2 city. Sixty percent of African Americans who constitute the city's total population are among the nation's best educated and highest paid. It has the second lowest black unemployment rate, 7.6%, of the top 10, well below the national average of 10.2%. Dallas, Texas, returns to our best cities list at No. 3, up from No. 8 in 2001. Dallas placed third among the top 10 cities in median household income for black families, future job growth, and black high school graduation rate. Nashville, Tennessee, is a new entry to the top 10, ranking No. 4, with a low cost of living as the city's biggest draw. Only Houston and Memphis have lower cost of living indices. Houston, Texas, ranks No. 5 primarily because of residents' high satisfaction with quality of life. Formerly No. 1, Houston's drop is due to its above average median cost index and its higher unemployment and violent crime rates. Charlotte, North Carolina, appears again on the top cities list, falling two spots to No. 6. Charlotte earned high marks for cost of living, diversity, and economic growth. The city is a youthful, mobile hub for professionals (the median age is 32.8), and future job growth is fairly strong at 18.7%. Birmingham, Alabama, new to the list, ranks at No. 7. Birmingham is the least populous city among the top 10 but has a city population that is nearly 75% African American. While race relations are a concern for residents, the city boasts the highest percentage of African American homeowners, 58%, among the top 10. Rounding out the top 10 are Memphis, Tennessee, ranked at No. 8; Columbus, Ohio, ranked at No. 9; and Baltimore, Maryland, ranked at No. 10. The July issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE with full profiles of each city is available on newsstands June 29.
SOURCE BLACK ENTERPRISE