In the United States, your location is tied to how much money you can earn. Wealth is increasingly concentrating in urban centres like San Francisco, Washington, DC, and New York.
A new interactive map – which plots average incomes in counties across the US – highlights this modern reality.
Developed by the mapping-software company Esri, the tool indicates these income brackets with four different colours. The blue dots represent areas where the typical household makes at least $US100,000 per year; purple is $US50,000 to $US100,000; pink is $US25,000 to $US50,000; and red is less than $US25,000. Larger circles mean more households with a particular salary range.
The project explores patterns of wealth and poverty within American cities and the country as a whole.
Check out the data below.
As you can see in the map below, many people in the bright blue urban centres, like Los Angeles and Washington, DC, make over $US100,000.
To create the map, Esri used US Census data.
Nationwide, about 25% of households earn six figures. Around 22% of households earn less than $US25,000 annually.
A closer look at individual cities shows economic disparities between neighbourhoods.
Detroit, a city that suffered major manufacturing job losses in the ’70s and ’80s, has a large income disparity between downtown and outlying suburbs.
More than a quarter-million Detroit residents live below the poverty line, according to the US Census.
Similarly in LA, economic opportunity is spread unevenly across the city’s geography.
Wealthy households are centered in coastal areas, like Hollywood and Santa Monica, and the hills overlooking the city. Low-income parts of LA are downtown and to its south, in the San Fernando Valley, and in the San Bernardino area east of the city.
Manhattan neighbourhoods are mostly rich except for parts of the Lower East Side and the northern part of the island.
Gentrification, particularly in Brooklyn, has raised income levels in some NYC neighbourhoods in recent years.
Some Philadelphia neighbourhoods, like West and North Philly, grapple with extreme poverty.
But portions of its urban core, like Center City, are also wealthy.
Like Philadelphia, Houston has an outer ring of affluent suburbs and pockets of rich neighbourhoods downtown.
These neighbourhoods — such as Midtown and West University Place — extend to the west and south.
Many of America’s elite zip codes are in city centres, especially on the East Coast …
… and the West Coast. San Francisco, California glows a brighter blue than any other city on the map, indicating that a large number of households make over $US100,000.
The map’s snapshot of Southern states is much different, as shown via the red dots. In most Southern counties, over a quarter of households earn less than $US25,000.
Esri’s tool reveals that income disparities are both real and getting more extreme.
It also suggests that the modern economy leaves behind large swaths of the US.
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