To the Editor:
Now is the time for The Villages Developer to explain their commitment to diversity
As we find ourselves in the midst of strife and turmoil triggered by the death of Mr. Floyd, it has offered an opportunity for discussion of the racial demographics of The Villages. Now is the time for “us” Villagers to have a frank discussion about the racial makeup of our community.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of The Villages is 98.2% White, .3% Black, 1.5% Hispanic or Latino, and 0.9% Asian Alone. The racial demographic census of the entire US shows the population as 77.3% white, 16.9% Black, 3% Asian, and 26.1% Hispanic.
According to an article in Michigan Retirement, retirees migrate for five reasons: Family, Financial, Better location, and/or health. (Article was based upon a study conducted by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.)
These reasons apply to all ethnicities. But the obvious reason is that “[w]hite households in the United States are far wealthier than black or Hispanic households, a disparity remains unexplained even after considering income and demographic factors. (https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v64n4/v64n4p1.html)
From a retirement standpoint, lack of family wealth in minority families may result in what has been termed as the “sandwich generation,” whereby minority retirees may need to provide more support to their families.
The very low percentage of minority residents in The Villages hints at other possibilities. With all of the houses for sale in The Villages, it seems that it would behoove The Villages to actively recruit/advertise in a variety of places including those with a large minority readership or membership. Even though The Villages owners are staunch republicans, it would be unfair to assume that as a reason for not marketing to everyone.
In addition to the dearth of African American property owners, there is also a dearth of minority employees. At last count, there were less than 5 realtors out of approximately 300. When one considers the number of minorities in the surrounding communities, it appears The Villages should do outreach to bring in more minority employees.
An effective outreach program would include reaching out to upcoming retirees, meeting them where they are, and tapping minority residents to provide a credible message to their friends. More minority employees might be found by conducting job fairs in the neighboring communities.
The next generation of retirees will come from diverse environments and more diversity in our Villages would reflect the multicultural environment that many of us came from and could become a selling point.
Just food for thought and responsible commentary.
Village of Hacienda South