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America’s Middle-Class Neighborhoods on the Decline

Posted on Nov 16, 2011
Flickr / quinn.anya (CC-BY-SA)

As America’s middle class continues to diminish, it follows that the middle-class neighborhoods they once called home would shrink accordingly. Well, they are, finds a new Stanford University study, which charted changes in Americans’ living quarters since 1970. The results are sobering, if unsurprising, and the study doesn’t even include the last four years.  —KA

The New York Times:

The findings show a changed map of prosperity in the United States over the past four decades, with larger patches of affluence and poverty and a shrinking middle.

In 2007, the last year captured by the data, 44 percent of families lived in neighborhoods the study defined as middle-income, down from 65 percent of families in 1970. At the same time, a third of American families lived in areas of either affluence or poverty, up from just 15 percent of families in 1970.

The study comes at a time of growing concern about inequality and an ever-louder partisan debate over whether it matters. It raises, but does not answer, the question of whether increased economic inequality, and the resulting income segregation, impedes social mobility.

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By do over, November 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

Many people choose to live closer to nature and the suburbs and exurbs provide that.  I could never live in a city despite it’s many advantages.  So let’s stop the divisive speech and unify for greater purpose.

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By Blueokie, November 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

Arabian Sinbad-

Nice link, and a reminder that this is a global pathogen and not a local

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By Queenie, November 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

“If we revitalize our urban areas, less people will be in the suburban areas.” - PoepleOVERgreed.

So where are the people living that got kicked out of their urban apartments because of this “revializing”?

Gentrification is swell for some but not for those who have seen their whole neighborhoods destroyed by an onslaught of Boomers and their decorators.

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By Arabian Sinbad, November 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

For the parallels between declining America and its spoiled child Israel, link up to:

Haaretz:  News Paper from Israel
Come visit Israel. Before it’s gone.
You’re going to have to hurry.
By Bradley Burston

Click the link to read the full article

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By Big B, November 16, 2011 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment


I think you may have glossed over the point. Its not that people are huddling in urban areas to aviod having a mortgage and car payment, they do it now out of nessesity. A third of us used to be able to AFFORD to live in the suburbs, if we wanted to. But alas, in this corporatocracy that we now toil in, we no longer have that choice. Many don’t have it anymore because they never realized that the culture wars have been going on for nearly 40 years now, and the middle class just woke up with our backs on the canvass and asked “what happened?”

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By PeopleOVERgreed, November 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

I believe the legacy American dream, the model of the suburban life-style has run its course. Thirty-something and below age groups are not interested in living in suburbs. In this economic climate you really must choose between a new car and a house payment, because having both means financial slavery. I really appreciate the growing new urbanism and walkable neighborhoods. If we revitalize our urban areas, less people will be in the suburban areas.

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