The Atlantic Cities conducted a study of poverty and segregation in major metros across the country, and unsurprisingly, NYC has it pretty bad. The study looked at income and geography to find the cities in which poor people live in the most concentrated, isolated areas, and while New York isn’t the worst — that dubious honor goes to Milwaukee — things aren’t looking so good for us, either.
The NYC area, which, for the purpose of this study, includes Long Island and north Jersey, is the fourth-most poverty-segregated major metro area in the nation, with a segregation index of .428. The closer a city’s index is to 5, the more segregated it is (Milwaukee’s is .478).
These are more than just numbers. The more geographically cut off a city’s impoverished population is from the rest of its residents, the more difficult life becomes for poor people in a host of areas. Writes Richard Florida at The Atlantic Cities:
This increasing concentration of poverty poses a host of problems to communities. Less advantaged communities suffer not just from a lack of economic resources but from everything from higher crime and drop-out rates to higher rates of infant mortality and chronic disease. In his classic The Truly Disadvantaged, William Julius Wilson called attention to the deleterious social effects that go along with the spatial concentration of poverty, which “include the kinds of ecological niches that the residents of these neighborhoods occupy in terms of access to jobs and job networks, availability of marriageable partners, involvement in quality schools, and exposure to conventional role models.
Read Florida’s exhaustive analysis of the data here.