It’s official: Some census tracts are more equal than others. The Treasury Department certified 8,700 census tracts across the U.S. that are eligible for investments by new Opportunity Funds, for which investors can defer and reduce their capital gains tax bills. The Economic Innovation Group, which pushed for the policy, has put together a searchable map and analysis of the Zones.
- High need. The poverty rate in the certified Opportunity Zones is nearly 31%, with average median family incomes at only 59% the median for their areas. Both are well above the law’s requirements.
- Growth potential. The Zones already contain 24 million jobs and 1.6 million businesses. Three-quarters of the areas have rebounded, at least a bit, from the Great Recession with job growth between 2011 and 2015.
- Impact watch. Rules for the funds are still sketchy, as are safeguards to ensure they truly expand access for low-income residents and businesses. Impact investors have begun to mobilize a push for “inclusive” Opportunity Zones.