cloudy
Friday May 27th, 2016 6:34AM

Wealth gap is widest in some affluent US cities

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The gap between the wealthy and the poor is most extreme in several of the United States' most prosperous and largest cities.<br /> <br /> The economic divides in Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are significantly greater than in the rest of the country, according to a study released Thursday by the Brookings Institution, the Washington-based think tank. It suggests that many sources of both economic growth and income inequality have co-existed near each other for the past 35 years .<br /> <br /> These cities may struggle in the future to provide adequate public schooling, basic municipal services because of a narrow tax base and "may fail to produce housing and neighborhoods accessible to middle-class workers and families," the study said.<br /> <br /> "There's something of a relationship between economic success and inequality," said Alan Berube, a senior fellow at Brookings. "These cities are home to some of the highest paying industries and jobs in the country."<br /> <br /> At the same time, Berube noted, many of these cities may inadvertently widen the gap between rich and poor because they have public housing and basic services that make them attractive to low-wage workers.<br /> <br /> The findings come at a delicate moment for the country, still slogging through a weak recovery from the Great Recession. Much of the nation's job growth has been concentrated in lower-wage careers. Few Americans have enjoyed pay raises. President Barack Obama is pushing for a higher minimum wage. Protesters in San Francisco have tried to block a private bus that shuttles Google employees from gentrifying neighborhoods to their offices in Silicon Valley.<br /> <br /> Many wealthy Americans, from venture capitalist Tom Perkins to real estate billionaire Sam Zell, argue that the nation has tipped toward class warfare.<br /> <br /> Incomes for the top 5 percent of earners in Atlanta averaged $279,827 in 2012. That's almost 19 times more than what the bottom 20 percent of that city's population earned. This ratio is more than double the nationwide average for this measure of income inequality. The top 5 percent of earners across the country have incomes 9.1 times greater than the bottom quintile.<br /> <br /> Major chasms also appeared in the tech hub of San Francisco, the financial center of New York, the seat of the federal government in Washington and the home of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.<br /> <br /> "In San Francisco, skyrocketing housing costs may increasingly preclude low-income residents from living in the city altogether," the study said.<br /> <br /> San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in an editorial published Thursday that "working families cannot support themselves on the (city's) current minimum wage of $10.74 per hour" - already $3.49 above the federal minimum and 64 cents more than Obama's proposed increase. Lee has also announced plans to build and restore 10,000 homes for low and moderate-income families by 2020.<br /> <br /> Not all tech hubs have witnessed rising inequality.<br /> <br /> Seattle, where Amazon and Microsoft are based, saw its income disparity decline since 2007. So did Denver. Austin, Texas, experienced a mild uptick.<br /> <br /> "Both the tech boom and energy boom are inequality-reducing," said Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington. "Tech introduces a path to good jobs."<br /> <br /> The Brookings study also found that inequality increased across cities even though incomes often fell for wealthy households between the start of the recession in 2007 and 2012.<br /> <br /> During that five-year period, average incomes for the top 5 percent in Jacksonville, Fla., tumbled $18,999 to $152,329. But the bottom 20 percent living in Jacksonville lost a greater share of their incomes over that period, so the level of inequality increased.<br /> <br /> Significant gaps also exist in Miami and Baltimore. But that's largely because their poorest residents there earn so little. The lowest quintile of Miami residents earned just $10,348 in 2012, about half the national average for that group.<br /> <br /> Of the nation's 50 biggest cities, just 18 experienced greater income inequality since the recession. That was due primarily to falling incomes for the poorest residents. This occurred in places that suffered from the burst of the housing bubble - such as Tucson, Ariz., and Albuquerque - and Midwestern cities still reeling from the collapse of manufacturing such as Cleveland, Indianapolis and Milwaukee.<br /> <br /> Not all the 50 largest cities are bastions of inequality. Some Western and Sun Belt cities with smaller downtowns had a noticeably smaller divide than the national average. These cities such as Mesa, Ariz., and Arlington, Texas, are essentially "overgrown suburbs," the study said. They tend to attract neither the highest-paying jobs nor the extreme poverty of the older cities.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 1 week ago )