When a Charlotte, North Carolina, police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday, it set off a wave of protests that soon led to violent confrontations between police and demonstrators. A second man, Justin Carr, shot during Wednesday’s protests, has also died. The Charlotte police say that Carr’s death was caused by another civilian. At the city’s request, the state’s governor declared a state of emergency on Thursday.
Until Tuesday, the city had been widely viewed as a place that had risen above racial divisions and become a point of light in what has been called the New South. The city has for years been home to some of the nation’s biggest banks. Bank of America is based in Charlotte and Wells Fargo has a massive presence there since acquiring Wachovia. The big banks helped attract more businesses and investment to the city.
In a survey of all 381 U.S. metro areas 24/7 Wall St. conducted last June, Charlotte was near the top of the list as one of the country’s 25 most American cities. Among the attributes we considered was racial composition. In the United States as a whole, 62.8% of the population identifies as white and 12.2% identifies as black or African American. According to CLRsearch.com, Charlotte’s white population comprises about 48% of the city’s residents while African Americans make up just over 36%.
On other measures, though, the city aligns much more closely to national averages. The typical household in the Charlotte area earns $53,549 a year, almost exactly the amount a typical American household earns annually.
A similar share of the population is also struggling financially. In Charlotte, 15.2% of the population lives below the poverty line, only a fraction of a percentage point less than the national poverty rate. The job market in Charlotte is also directly in line with that of the nation. Both the metro area’s and the nation’s unemployment rates are 4.7%.
Retired Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl told The Wall Street Journal:
I don’t think we’re on our heels. To the contrary, maybe we’re getting up off our butts. We’re shocked, but maybe every now and then you need a shock. I think you can become complacent with your own image, and think you don’t have a problem, when in fact, you do.
How Charlotte deals with that “problem” will speak volumes about its resilience and commitment to being an all-American city.
Also see the rest of the 25 most American cities.