News | METRANS Scholar Addresses Socioeconomic Disparities in Long Beach

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by Tyler Reeb

In addition to conducting a range of innovative transportation research, METRANS Scholar Seiji Steimetz, Ph.D., produces an annual Latino Economic Report that addresses critical socioeconomic issues facing Long Beach’s Latinx community. The goal of the report is to engage both the public and policymakers on issues facing Long Beach Latinos, a group that comprises more than 40 percent of the city’s population. Steimetz presented the 2020 Latino Economic Report on May 21, 2020 at the 3rd Annual Long Beach Latino Economic Summit during National Hispanic Heritage Month. 


Seiji Steimetz


“We developed the report in response to an overwhelming demand from civic leaders and stakeholders who wanted a better understanding of the economic contributions made, and conditions faced, by Long Beach’s Latinx community.  Our report was the first of its kind to draw an economic portrait of the City’s largest demographic,” said Steimetz who is Professor and Chair of Economics at California State University, Long Beach. The annual Latino Economic Report and its related summit, which debuted in 2018, are produced in partnership with the university’s Center for Community Engagement, the City of Long Beach and its Economic Development Department, and the Long Beach-based Hispanic-serving human and social service agency, Centro CHA. 


In producing the annual report, Steimetz and his economics graduate student, Megan Anaya, along with Dr. Juan Benitez, Vice President of the Long Beach Unified School District Board, and Jessica Quintana, Centro CHA’s Executive Director, have uncovered trends and issues facing Long Beach’s Latinx population. For example, the median annual income of Latino households in Long Beach is $51,646, 14.7% lower than the overall median of $60,557. In addition, a higher percentage of Latinx residents (16.4%) lives in poverty compared to 9.8% of the rest of Long Beach’s population. Despite these disparities, Long Beach Latinos are indispensable to the local and regional economies. The annual economic impact of the City’s working population is $34.3 billion, or 38.1% of the entire City’s total contribution to the region. Additionally, Long Beach Latinos create or sustain 76,851 jobs in the region and contribute $807 million in tax revenue annually. As Long Beach’s Latino population continues to grow, these discussions and analyses will continue to inform residents, city departments, policymakers, and others working to make Long Beach more equitable and prosperous. 


To learn more about the Annual Latino Economic Report and Summit click here


Steimetz’s METRANS research concerns other pertinent issues in the Los Angeles metro area, including traffic congestion, freight transportation, and road pricing. His research has appeared in top economics, transportation, and interdisciplinary journals. In 2018, Steimetz published a report with CITT Research Coordinator, Benjamin Olson, and Research Assistant, Anete Brinke, on the role data-driven analytics play in improving the efficiency of goods movement using load-matching technology. Steimetz finds that pick-up flexibility, higher payment per weight, and morning pick-up times increase the probability that a driver will pick up a shipment. By contrast, drivers are less likely to pick up shipments with delivery flexibility and same-day deliveries. Overall, drivers picked up 88% of shipments posted on a load-sharing platform. This study will gauge the efficacy of load-matching technology and inform future research on this topic.  


Steimetz has served as a member of the METRANS Executive Committee for a decade. Given his expanded responsibilities working with CSULB and City of Long Beach leadership, Steimetz recently announced he was stepping down as a member of the METRANS Executive Committee. “The METRANS team values the many contributions that Dr. Steimetz has made in transportation research and in empowering next-generation mobility professionals,” said METRANS Director Genevieve Giuliano. “We wish him well on all his future research endeavors.” 


To learn more about Steimetz’s research with METRANS click here.