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Supporting research that helps break down barriers

April 15, 2019

min read

Through its partnerships, Koch Industries is committed to identifying and breaking down barriers to opportunity for everybody across society. These issues, encompassing education, economic mobility, and the criminal justice system, come into focus with the release of a new report from the Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO) that gathers the opinions of people in concentrated areas of poverty (known as “fragile communities”) across the United States.

In 2017, Koch joined with the Charles Koch Foundation and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to form CAO. The second annual State of Opportunity in America report released this week in Washington, D.C., surveyed 5,784 Americans in 47 states from July through September 2018, with an emphasis on the cities of Chicago; Birmingham, Alabama; and Fresno, California.

The Gallup survey’s key findings in fragile communities include:

  • Black and Hispanic residents are less likely than whites to feel that people like themselves are treated fairly by their local police or legal system, but they are more likely than whites to say they would like the police to spend more time in their area.
  • Among those with children under 18, less than half say they are “extremely satisfied” (9%) or “satisfied” (37%) with the quality of area public K-12 schools.
  • 36% said they find it difficult to get by compared with 17% of Americans overall. 18% of residents said they are living comfortably compared with 45% overall.

“In order to fully understand the barriers to opportunity in America’s fragile communities, we need to hear these experiences from residents first hand,” said Gerard Robinson, CAO’s executive director. “Looking to the future, CAO will build on this report with additional research to develop solutions for a happier, more fulfilling life for millions of Americans.”

Read the full report.