Wealth Gap Widening in Big Cities, Study Says

Quentin Fotrell  |   July 9, 2015

Inequality between the wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods grew by the highest amounts among some of the largest metro areas between 1990 and 2010, reveals a new report by the Urban Institute. Read more: Real Estate and the Middle Class Researchers measured inequality by assigning a "neighborhood advantage score," which factored in the average household income, the percentage of college-educated residents, the home ownership rate, and value of owner occupied homes. Baltimore, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, and Philadelphia had the highest inequality, according to the study. On the other hand, the lowest cases of inequality between rich and poor tended to be located smaller towns like Appleton, Wis.; Gadsden, Ala.; and Fredericksburg, Va. The report notes that some areas have furthered the wealth gap by creating gated communities to separate the poorer areas from the more posh ones. For example, the top neighborhoods in Bridgeport, Conn., are suburbs such as Darien and New Canaan where "exclusionary zoning effectively turns entire towns into private clubs," the report notes. About 89 percent of the households in Bridgeport's wealthiest areas own their homes compared with only 22 percent of households in the poorest areas. The report calls for urban planners to create more "inclusive cities."

Source: Market Watch