Income inequality and income segregation have been dramatically rising over the last 4 decades. In her new column, “Class Warfare, Codified,” Connie Shultz wonders what this trend means for the social mobility of our children:
A study came out this month that shows just how much our country’s rising income inequality over the past four decades has whittled away at this way of life. Increasingly, neighborhoods are mostly low-income or mostly affluent. Middle-class neighborhoods like the one where I grew up are in dramatic decline.
The study, part of US 2010, was conducted by Stanford University and funded by Russell Sage and Brown University.
A few of the study’s findings:
–In 1970, 65 percent of families lived in “middle-income” neighborhoods.
–By 2007, only 44 percent of families lived in such neighborhoods.
–Only 15 percent of families in 1970 lived in one of the two extreme types of neighborhoods, but by 2007, that number had more than doubled, to 31 percent.
–The affluent are more segregated from other Americans than the poor are. That is, high-income families are much less likely to live in neighborhoods with middle- and low-income families than low-income families are to live in neighborhoods with middle- and high-income families. This has been true for the past 40 years.
This raises a crucial question: What does this income segregation mean for the social mobility of children?