Sammis White, Ph.D.
The following report is based on a new survey of a random sample of 1,000 adult, black/African American residents of the City of Milwaukee undertaken in early January 1995. The survey sought opinions on a variety of public issues facing the city and its residents. The survey is believed to be unique in terms of the size of its sample and the content of its questions. The report reveals a number of findings which should aid the discussion of priorities and options. Among the most salient are the following:
- Despite being ambivalent about the economic prospects for the City of Milwaukee during 1995, respondents by a 10-to-1 ratio are optimistic rather than pessimistic about their own family’s economic circumstances during 1995. They commonly cite such factors as a new or better job, raises, increased personal effort, and hope as being responsible for their view.
- In terms of the most pressing issue that government should be involved in at this time, respondents are split. But the two issues most needing attention at this time are job creation and reducing crime, each cited by about one-third of the respondents.
- Job creation is an issue because 17% of all respondents in the labor force and 28% of respondents in the labor force between the ages of 18 and 24 were unemployed at the time of the survey; an additional 17% were working part-time.
Black residents of Milwaukee share a great many common views, and they share most of these same views with non-black residents. There are certainly some compelling views, such as the level of support for school choice, the support for the concept of welfare as no longer being an entitlement, or the interest in homeownership – each of which is attractive to at least 87% of the respondents. But there are also many other topics on which a clear majority prevails, just as it does in the larger community.