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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Shrinking Middle-Class Neighborhoods

More evidence of increasing polarization in the U.S.:

U.S. Losing Its Middle-Class Neighborhoods, by Blaine Harden, Washington Post: Middle-class neighborhoods, long regarded as incubators for the American dream, are losing ground in cities across the country, shrinking at more than twice the rate of the middle class itself.

In their place, poor and rich neighborhoods are both on the rise, as cities and suburbs have become increasingly segregated by income, according to a Brookings Institution study... It found that as a share of all urban and suburban neighborhoods, middle-income neighborhoods in the nation's 100 largest metro areas have declined from 58 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2000. ... It far outpaced the decline of seven percentage points ... in the proportion of middle-income families living in and around cities. ...

"No city in America has gotten more integrated by income in the last 30 years," said Alan Berube, an urban demographer at Brookings who worked on the report. "It means that if you are not living in one of the well-off areas, you are not going to have access to the same amenities -- good schools and safe environment -- that you could find 30 years ago," he said. ...

The Brookings study says that much more research is needed to better understand why middle-income neighborhoods are vanishing faster than middle-income families. But it speculates that a sorting-out process is underway in the nation's suburbs and inner cities...

The Brookings study says that increased residential segregation by income can remove a fundamental rung from the nation's ladder for social mobility: moderate-income neighborhoods with decent schools, nearby jobs, low crime and reliable services. ...

    Posted by on Thursday, June 22, 2006 at 12:03 AM in Economics, Housing, Income Distribution | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (5)

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