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As demographics change, groups look to increase equity in opportunities

By 2040, 39 percent of the Omaha metro area’s population will be people of color.

That’s one finding from an Equitable Growth Profile of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area. Heartland 2050 partnered with California-based research group PolicyLink and University of Southern California researchers for the study. 

The profile says the metro area’s gross domestic product would have been $3.9 billion more in 2012 without racial disparities in income. More than 10 percent of the black and Latino population are working poor, compared with one in 40 whites.

The profile makes several recommendations to address issues of equity in employment. One is to remove barriers to employment. Another is to bring more diversity in to civic participation and leadership. A third is to pay workers more. The report highlights Nebraska’s vote in November to raise the minimum wage.

Heartland 2050 is a vision for the eight-county metro area, five in Nebraska and three in Iowa. It looks at issues such as transportation, the economy, and infrastructure.