A watershed study reveals the wealth gap has manifested itself in more ways than one, with middle class neighborhoods going off the map.
According to research conducted by Standford University and released by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University, family income shifted dramatically between 1970 and 2000. The middle class felt the biggest squeeze as their incomes started declining in the 1970s.
Write the authors:
“In 1970, 65 per cent of families lived in “middle-income” neighborhoods (neighborhoods in one of the two middle categories); by 2007, only 44 per cent of families lived in such neighborhoods … only 15 per cent of families in 1970 lived in one of the two extreme types of neighborhoods, but by 2007 that number had more than doubled to 31 per cent of families.”
The disparity rings especially true among black and Hispanics families whose income plunged sharply in the 1970s and 80s before taking a “modest” dip in the 1990s. Though their “income segregation” was lower than white families in 1970, by 2007 it had accelerated at a striking pace.
We’ve written before how the wealth gap is truly an age gap, but this news is especially concerning in light of how strapped consumers have become since the start of the recession. With every dollar mattering more as prices continue to rise, the impact of families’ inability to afford a decent neighbourhood, say the study’s authors, will influence their children’s ability to move up socially and economically down the line.
For children of affluent parents, however, the inverse seems to holds true: They’ll have greater accessibility to quality schools, social services and other neighbourhood amenities.
Click here to read the full study online.
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