Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Segregated Cities: Richard Florida report for the Martin Prosperity Institute

I’m a big fan of Richard Florida’s research. His books are excellent: Who’s Your City? and The Rise of the Creative Class, especially.

Recently, I came across a study that he and Charlotta Mellander did for the Martin Prosperity Institute, which used three measures of economic segregation—income, education, and occupation—to identify and map economic segregation in American cities. Chapter 2 also notes some effects of economic segregation in cities. The executive summary includes the following information:

Notice that Austin, TX is the third most segregated using an overall measure of economic segregation. Furthermore, four of the ten most segregated large US metropolitan areas are in Texas: Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Note the last bulleted point: “Its (economic segregation) effects appear to compound those of economic inequality and may be more socially and economically deleterious than inequality alone.” 

This report should be in the hands of Austin’s city council. The problem of affordability in Austin is exacerbated by the economic segregation in Austin. This issue must be addressed.

The statement that concerns me most is the last sentence: “It is not just that the economic divide in America has grown wider; it’s that the rich and poor effectively occupy different worlds, even when they live in the same cities and metros.”

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