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Rich, poor in U.S. are more likely to live with their own

August 3, 2012 |  5:28 pm

Rich and poor Americans are more likely now than in years past to live in economically segregated neighborhoods, where most of their neighbors are also affluent or low-income, a new study finds.

The Pew Research Center analyzed census data to show that the percentage of upper-income households located in mainly affluent neighborhoods doubled between 1980 and 2010, from 9% to 18%. The share of lower-income households in mainly poorer neighborhoods rose from 23% to 28% over the same time frame.


The changes are related to a long-term rise in income inequality across the U.S., the researchers said.

During the same period, the share of neighborhoods that were mostly middle-income or home to a range of incomes shrank -- from 85% in 1980 to 76% in 2010.


The study also looked at the nation’s 30 largest metropolitan areas and found rising residential segregation by income in 27 of those areas, including Greater Los Angeles. The L.A. metro area was eighth on Pew’s listing, with a 4% increase since 1980 in neighborhoods that are either mainly low-income or mainly affluent.

Among the nation’s 30 largest largest metro areas, the three with the highest levels of residential income segregation were all in Texas: San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Portland, Ore., and Orlando, Fla., had the lowest levels.



The report said rising economic segregation occurred mainly in fast-growing areas, where the growth had been fueled by influxes of low-skill, low-wage immigrants, as well as high-skill, high-wage workers and well-to-do retirees.

The report, along with interactive maps of the largest metropolitan areas, are on Pew's website:  http://pewresearch.org/


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Photo: The L.A. metro area had a 4% increase since 1980 in neighborhoods that are either mainly low-income or mainly affluent.  Credit: Wally Skalij /Los Angeles Times.