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Economic inequality the middle class in america is becoming poorer

Derided not for the sentiment outlined above so much as the evidence, which involved Italian cold cuts as a restrictive cultural signifier for the American upper middle class. Salami aside, Brooks has a point. The columnist points to education and metropolitan zoning restrictions as reinforcement for this unequal system, with statistics to support the argument.

But how true is it? We asked urbanist, author, and University of Toronto professor Richard Florida to weigh in. When did this wealth gap problem start? Basically, this wealth gap that we see today is something that has really skyrocketed since about the 1980s and certainly in the past decade, decade and a half.

The income inequality in the United States, according to the Gini coefficient a measure of inequality where 0 is perfectly equal and 1 is perfectly unequal is about 0. How about in cities specifically?

Inequality Is Rising Across the Globe — and Skyrocketing in the U.S.

In cities that inequality is even greater. Inequality in New York City is like Swaziland. Los Angeles is equivalent to Sri Lanka. These gaps between the rich and the poor in income and wealth are vast across the country and even worse in our cities. First introduced in the 1950s and 1960s by Fritz Malchup and Peter Drucker, the idea is that the economy is powered by knowledge, ideas and talent as opposed to resources and industry. The research of other economists do show that in terms of upward mobility, living in cities like New York or San Francisco or Boston tends to be better for upward mobility than living in sprawling, more suburban areas.

That said, what makes it harder —and this is the core theme of The New Urban Crisis—is that middle class neighborhoods are disappearing.

In the past, most Americans lived in middle class neighborhoods, whether that was in the city or the suburbs. And guess where middle class neighborhoods declined the most? In our largest, the most densest, knowledge-based metropolitan areas. Why have these middle class neighborhoods disappeared? The wealthy have moved to much more concentrated areas economic inequality the middle class in america is becoming poorer wealth.

And those areas are surrounded by areas with much more concentrated disadvantage. The wealthy and the well educated and the more affluent have walled themselves off in separate neighborhoods.

The growth in economic segregation really occurred in the last decade. In our biggest cities we see the biggest loss of the middle class.

We see the biggest gaps not only between wealth in general, but where rich people and more educated knowledge workers live and where less advantaged people live. Is the economic segregation perpetuated by zoning laws or individuals? In the past, exclusionary zoning in the suburbs really functioned to keep poor people, less affluent people out. Today, I think the key factor is simply that wealthy, affluent people wanted to move back to cities.

Cities become more attractive to high tech firms, innovative companies and creative organizations. So you have more competition for limited space.

When you have more competition for limited space, the land value goes up. David Brooks wrote a column for The New York Times a few weeks ago touching on the culture of urbanites and how that relates to the wealth gap and segregated neighborhoods. I think it is a mistake to blame people who work hard, put work into selecting their partners and making sure their marriages work, and invest in their kids.

I think the barriers are much more formal and institutional than informal. Is the geographic divide of the American people based on socioeconomic status a result of the wealth gap or is it an underlying cause perpetuating the widening wealth gap? They reinforce one another. How has the wealth gap affected the American people?

This gap between the rich and poor, the haves and the have-nots, is what produced the backlash that brought Donald Trump to power. I think this, what I call spatial geographic inequality, is a deep fundamental characteristic of knowledge-based economies because what drives economic growth is a clustering of diverse, talented people in small areas.

The more innovation we create, the more we compete for space and those housing values. The finance industry, the media industry, the music industry all cluster in certain places. How do we fix this? Some want to live in dense, knowledge-based areas. Others will want to live in more suburban or rural parts of the country and pay less in taxes and spend less on schools. Across the country, people are going to want different things.

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By localizing governments, you can allow places to make the most of what they have. That way, we can begin to heal the divide in our country. I think this inequality, not just between classes and wealth, but between locations is going to be the big issue of our time.