Posts Tagged ‘cities’


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economic segregation

It is not just that the economic divide in America has grown wider; it’s that the rich and poor effectively occupy different worlds, even when they live in the same cities and metros.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander [pdf]. What they do is construct an index of economic segregation based on three variables—income, education, and occupation—which are themselves highly correlated.

The ten large metropoles with the highest values on the Overall Economic Segregation Index are Austin, Columbus, San Antonio, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Memphis. When the listed is expanded to cover all metro areas, a number of college towns rise to the top: Tallahassee (home to Florida State University) jumps to first place and Trenton-Ewing (Princeton University) to second, while Austin falls to third. Tucson (University of Arizona) and Ann Arbor (University of Michigan) also make the list, along with Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk.

The least segregated large metropoles include Orlando, Portland, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Providence, and Virginia Beach. Rustbelt metros like Cincinnati, Rochester, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh also have relatively low levels of overall economic segregation.

Another notable finding is that economic segregation tends to be more intensive in high-tech, knowledge-based metropolitan areas. It is positively correlated with high-tech industry, the “creative class” share of the workforce, and the share of college graduates. In other words, the so-called new economy is less a cure and more a cause of the new levels of class segregation in urban America.

And the implication of their analysis?

Where cities and neighborhoods once mixed different kinds of people together, they are now becoming more homogenous and segregated by income, education, and occupation. Separating across these three key dimensions of socio-economic class, this bigger sort threatens to undermine the essential role that cities have played as incubators of innovation, creativity, and economic progress.

Chart of the day

Posted: 10 December 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,


Friends of mine were outraged by a recent article about Brooklyn [ht:ja], in which the author (and the newspaper that published the article) erased all parts of the borough that are not “DUMBO or Park Slope or Carroll Gardens or Williamsburg, or ANY gentrified, overwhelmingly white, hipsterish neighborhood.” In other words, the “Brooklyn brand” bears no relationship to the reality most people who live and work in the area know and experience every day.

As it turns out, the same disappearing act is taking place across the country, as every attempt to highlight the renaissance of the urban “creative class” hides the real poverty that is growing in American cities.

According to a new report by Joe Cortright and Dillon Mahmoudi,

  • From 1970 to 2010, the number of poor people living in high-poverty urban neighborhoods has more than doubled from two million to four million, and the number of high-poverty neighborhoods has nearly tripled from 1,100 to 3,100.
  • The poor in the nation’s metropolitan areas are increasingly segregated into neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. In 1970, 28 percent of the urban poor lived in a neighborhood with a poverty rate of 30 percent or more; by 2010, 39 percent of the urban poor lived in such high-poverty neighborhoods.


In other words, while a few neighborhoods have gentrified, experienced a reduction in poverty, and generated net population growth, many more neighborhoods—those that haven’t rebounded—have deteriorated, lost population, and remain high-poverty neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is continually creating new levels of inequality and, with them, new high-poverty neighborhoods.

Just like much of Brooklyn.

Child poverty

According to the National Center for Children in Poverty,

Years after the end of the Great Recession, child poverty remains widespread in America’s largest cities. Nearly three children in five living in Detroit are poor, according to the most recent Census figures, a rate that has grown by 10 percentage points since the onset of the Great Recession in 2007. Most children in Cleveland and Buffalo also live in poverty, as do nearly half the children in Fresno, Cincinnati, and Memphis. Other large cities topping the list for child poverty are Newark, Miami, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. Seven of the 10 cities with the highest child poverty rates have seen them climb by eight percentage points or more since 2007, led by Fresno, with an extraordinary 16 percentage point jump.


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