Commentary

Eminent Domain Abuses Minorities, Poor

A new study from the Institute for Justice in Wahsington, D.C. provides empirical support for what most of us already now: the poor and minorities are the ones most victimized when eminent domain is used for so-called economic development puproses. After examining 184 projects across the nation, the IJ report concluded that:

58 percent of those targeted with the threat of eminent domain were minority residents (compared to only 45 percent in surrounding neighborhoods that were not targeted with takings), and those targeted had an annual median income of less than $19,000 (compared to $23,000 in surrounding neighborhoods). Moreover, a greater percentage of people living in areas targeted for eminent domain for private development have less than a high school diploma and smaller percentages have various levels of college education compared to surrounding communities.

The full report can be found here.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.