2015 June

Close to home: Social mobility and the growing distance between people and jobs

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Cross-posted on Brookings’ Social Mobility Memos Blog

Natalie Holmes and Alan Berube

Americans live near fewer jobs than they used to, which may be bad news for social mobility. Our recent report, “The growing distance between people and jobs in metropolitan America,” had one straightforward implication: commutes are getting longer. This puts more strain on infrastructure and more carbon into the atmosphere. But there are implications for opportunity, too.

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How big (or small) is your city’s middle class?

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Cross-posted on Brookings’ Metro Blog, The Avenue

Alan Berube and Alec Friedhoff

Have American cities lost their middle class? The recent unrest in Baltimore caused some to (inaccurately) portray that city as overwhelmingly poor. Meanwhile, rising inequality and rapid gentrification in places like San Francisco and Seattle raise the concern that some cities are becoming exclusive enclaves for the wealthy.

Yet it turns out that many U.S. cities still retain a sizable middle class, at least judged by national standards. We took annual income data from the American Community Survey, which the Census Bureau publishes for all places with populations of at least 65,000. Comparing these city income data from 2013 to national data for the same year, we classified households in each city by the quintile (fifth) of the national income distribution into which they fell. Jump to the interactive data.

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Resources

Learn about suburban poverty in your community, how innovators around the country are addressing it, and what you can do locally and nationally to take action.