Howard Magazine - Page 49 - Diversity By The Numbers (9)

Howard Magazine
- Page 49
Diversity By The Numbers (9)

Where inequality persists


Howard is one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S., with the nation’s third-highest median household income ($115,576) and the state’s second highest per capita income ($51,045) after Montgomery County.


But as in most parts of the country, inequalities in Howard County persist, many of them along racial and ethnic lines.


Median incomes are much lower for black and Hispanic households, compared with white and Asian households, according to Census data for the 2013-2017 period.


In Howard’s public schools, which are among the most integrated in the state, white students are more likely than black students to be placed in advanced classes, according to a Baltimore Sun analysis published in March 2017.


“As a county, we’re diverse,” said Ellicott City resident Ying Matties. “But when you look a little deeper, there’s two Howard counties.” Matties, who submitted testimony in support of Howard’s “sanctuary county” bill, helped start the Chinese American Network for Diversity and Opportunity.


Another challenge is getting first generation immigrants involved in the broader community, said Chao Wu, the Howard County school board member.


“There’s a cultural and language barrier,” he said. Part of the reason he decided to run for the school board last year was to get Chinese and Asian Americans excited about the community, he said.


Pravin Ponnuri, the Indian Origin Network of Howard County president, says one of the organization’s goals is to become a venue for Indian Americans to more visibly give back to the broader community.


“We don’t want to be in a bubble,” said Ponnuri, who also ran for a seat on the school board last year. “We want to be part of the mainstream.”