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Middle-Income Metro Neighborhoods In Decline

Posted by: Peter Coy on July 5, 2006

A new study from the Brookings Institution says that metro areas are becoming increasingly segregated by income. This should be no surprise to someone who has ever walked up New York City’s Fifth Avenue near the north end of Central Park and in the space of one or two blocks seen the transition from amazing wealth to poverty. But the stats are still interesting. According to authors Jason C. Booza, Jackie Cutsinger, and George Galster:

*In all metro areas (including both center cities and suburbs), 58% of neighborhoods were middle income in 1970 but only 41% were middle income in 2000
*In center cities, the decline was from 45% in 1970 to 23% in 2000
*In suburbs, the decline was from 64% in 1970 to 44% in 2000

Check out Table 3 on page 6 of the study, which shows that Scranton-Wilkes-Barre-Hazleton, Pa., had the most middle class neighborhoods of 100 cities measured in 2000, while Los Angeles and New York were the most polarized between rich and poor neighborhoods.



BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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