Like Twitter or a double latte, Opportunity Zones (OZs) have sparked a whole lot of chatter, but little tangible action — if by action we mean projects moving dirt, erecting walls and creating jobs in the 8,700 OZs across the United States defined by low-income census tracts.
In June 2018, by a provision in the 2017 federal tax reform legislation, the U.S. Department of the Treasury certified over 8,700 OZs through the end of 2028. Per the Economic Innovation Group, they have an average poverty rate of nearly 31%,and contain 1.6 million places of business, 24 million jobs, and 35 million Americans. According to the Urban Institute, less than 4% of them are at high risk of rapid socioeconomic change, displacement, or gentrification. But that doesn’t mean they’re not at medium risk.
Image: A production studio operated by NBCUniversal Studios will be an anchor for an OZ in Albuquerque. Photo by MarbleStreetStudio.com courtesy of Visit Albuquerque