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.