PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Peoria is making its way up a familiar list, but it’s a list that no city would be proud to be on.

According to a study from the site 24/7 Wall ST, Peoria is once again ranked within the top 20 of the ‘Worst Cities for Black Americans to Live In.’

One list came out in January and ranked the River City at number 5.

But another list came out just three weeks later and ranked Peoria at number 16.

Marvin Hightower, the President of Peoria’s NAACP branch, said the rankings are confusing and he wants to know what data those with 24/7 Wall ST used to get two different outcomes.

“It’s kind of baffling to me really,” Hightower said. “I don’t understand it and need some understanding on how they got there within a month’s time because I don’t we’ve had that significant of a shift.”

The study looks at factors such as population, education, health, and income for Black people. Hightower said, putting the list aside, he doesn’t think Peoria is a bad city for Black people but it’s a challenging one.

“The unemployment and the underemployment is a challenge,” Hightower said. “Education is a challenge, affordable housing is a challenge for Black Peorians here. We have a lot of renters but not a lot of homeownerships as far as Black Peorians go … homeownership is a way to put you on the path to wealth.”

Hightower also said constant economic challenges are can put people in survival mode, leading them to do whatever is necessary to have their needs met, which could result in crime flowing back into the community.

He said the NAACP is also looking at minority spend to see where the city and county and other entities are spending money to determine why it may or may not be coming to the Black community.

Peoria’s mayor Dr. Rita Ali said the city has trended toward improvement, but there are still disparities creating barriers.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Ali said. “The good thing is that we’re working to reduce these to close these disparities, there’s a lot of work being done,” Ali said.

She said there’s work on both the city and county level at play.

“We’re looking at equity in budgeting, we’re looking at equity in housing, we’re looking at some of our most distressed areas and really investing and making investments and these are areas that are pretty well dominated by people of color,” Ali said. “Many of them are areas of high poverty and we know that people of color, African-Americans are disproportionately poor, are disproportionately less likely to be homeowners, and have lower graduation rates.”

Ali said later this month, the city’s joint commission on racial justice and equity will release its annual report which will identify specific areas of racial disparities. She said these findings will lead to suggestions and collaborations to resolve these barriers.

So, that’s what gives me hope that Peoria will continue to move down further on that list and hopefully one day become one of the better or best places for African Americans to live,” Ali said.

Hightower said collaboration, investment, and policy changes are key factors in propelling the city forward.