Economy

These Three Images Show Stark Inequality Among American Cities


This week the Demand Institute garnered headlines with a report called A Tale of 2,000 Cities that was good, although perhaps not a thousand times as good as Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities. Its main conclusion, in case you missed the release, is that there is a vast gap between the most and least economically successful cities, towns, and villages in America.

The website is interactive, allowing readers to drill down to the aspects that interest them the most. To whet your appetite, here are some static images from the report. The first shows that the top 20 percent of communities account for a huge share of the total market cap gains—and within that, the top 10 percent (in gray) predominates.

Demand Institute

This page profiles the most fortunate of the nine market segments, dubbed Affluent Metroburbs, which includes such towns as “Surf City, USA,” better known as Huntington Beach, Calif. The median home price in these towns last year was $490,000 (significantly higher in some, of course):

Demand Institute

And this page describes the unluckiest of the nine, the Endangered Communities. (Example: Gary, Ind. (Their median home price last year was just $64,000—less than the cost of a kitchen makeover in an Affluent Metroburb.

Demand Institute

Coy_190
Coy is Bloomberg Businessweek's economics editor. His Twitter handle is @petercoy.

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