Arlington, VA Versus Tucson, AZ: Social Class Trumps Racial Diversity

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This is why Boeing and Amazon picked Arlington, Virginia, instead of a city like Tucson for their headquarters.

Boeing recently announced that it will be moving its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia. This follows Amazon’s decision of a year or so ago to establish its second headquarters in Arlington.


Neither of these two corporate behemoths nor most large corporations for that matter would ever consider establishing a headquarters in Tucson or the scores of other cities that are like the Old Pueblo.

Executives of such companies espouse diversity, equity, and inclusion but are personally unwilling to live and work in a city with a significant percentage of poor people, many of whom happen to be brown-skinned.

In their thinking, Tucson and similar cities are suitable for lower-level employees in back offices, plants, and distribution centers, but not for those at the top of the corporate pyramid and their staffs in finance, accounting, legal, computer/software engineering, marketing, advertising, government relations, human resources, and diversity and inclusion.  These highly paid and highly educated employees want to live and work among their own kind, not necessarily their own race, but certainly their own socioeconomic class.


As can be seen in the table below, Arlington fits the bill but Tucson doesn’t.

Census Bureau Stats Arlington, VA Tucson, AZ
% with Bachelor’s Degree or Higher 75.8% 28.2%
Median Household Income $122,604 $45,427
Per Capita Income $73,078 $24,468
Poverty Rate 6.0% 22.5%

Of course, Tucson and its considerable number of poor people would benefit much more than Arlington from a Boeing or Amazon headquarters. Not only would the high-paid employees generate more spending and more tax revenue, but they would demand better schools, safer neighborhoods, more amenities, and improved upkeep of parks, streets, and other public places—all of which would benefit all residents, not just the wealthy.

According to Neighborhood Scout, Tucson could use such improvements. It gives the city a failing grade in schools, crime, and employment opportunities, which are three important factors that corporate executives with families consider in deciding where to move. By contrast, Arlington gets an “A+” in each of these.


Unfortunately, such rich cities as Arlington get richer, and such poor cities as Tucson stay stuck in a poverty trap. Arlington gets richer because it is next door to the Imperial City of Washington, D.C., which is where taxes from the provinces feed behemoth bureaucracies insulated from market forces, where rent-seekers seek government money, and where corporations put their headquarters in order to influence government regulators and political benefactors.

Tucson stays stuck in a poverty trap due to immigration policies set in Washington, made worse by decades of shortsighted local governance. I say that as someone who is pro-immigration, who used to live in the barrio, and who admires the history of Mexico, Mexican Americans, and Tejanos.

The fact is that unskilled and poorly educated immigrants can overwhelm social services, schools, and housing in the short term in a given locale if their numbers exceed the financial resources needed to absorb and assimilate them.  It was a similar story with my unskilled and poorly educated immigrant grandparents, who made it to America before the 1924 Immigration Act restricted the influx of Italians and other southern Europeans (who were seen as people of color at the time).

Hispanics make up 44.2% of Tucson’s population, with most of them being of Mexican heritage. By comparison, Hispanics make up 15.6% of Arlington’s population. It is not known how many of these Hispanics are immigrants. Whatever the number, Arlington has more financial resources to help poor immigrants than Tucson does and should therefore take a larger share.    

A ranking of 108 ethnic groups in America by household income can be found here. It shows that Americans of Mexican ancestry rank ninety-fifth, and East Indians rank first. It also shows that Asians as a group rank significantly higher, on average, than the second-highest group, non-Hispanic whites.

This is relevant to the discussion at hand because Asians and non-Hispanic whites comprise 76% of Arlington’s population. Cities with a high combined percentage of both groups will tend to be wealthier.

Other wealthy cities with a similar combined percentage of Asians and non-Hispanic whites are Seattle (78.9%), San Francisco (74.2%), and Mountain View, Calif. (75.1%). The combined percentage climbs to 85.9% in Redmond, Washington, the home of Microsoft, and 88.0% in Atherton, which is considered the wealthiest town in California.

In Tucson, by comparison, Asians and non-Hispanic whites comprise only 46.9% of the population.

None of this is to suggest that the top executives of Boeing and Amazon chose Arlington because they prefer Asians and non-Hispanic whites over other racial groups. It is to suggest, however, that they prefer to live and work within their own social class, which has the same effect as preferring Asians and non-Hispanic whites—and which runs counter to the stated goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Unless this preference changes, cities like Tucson have little chance at landing the headquarters of a major corporation and breaking out of the poverty trap.



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Americans just witnessed the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 without one Republican vote in the U.S. Senate and House (just as Obamacare was passed in 2010). The IRS  will be hiring 87,000 new agents, many armed, to terrorize American taxpayers.

Americans witnessed the FBI raid at the Trump Mar-A-Lago home and property of President Trump, truly a first in all of American history. We know what that is about. 

It is undeniable that the Democrat Party and the administrative state (the executive branches of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, et al) are clear and present dangers to our Republic and our liberty as they increasingly veer further away from the rule of law and the Constitution. What is the solution? At this critical juncture, there is only one action we can all take.

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