The so-called millennials – the generation just starting to have kids now – want to stay in the urban areas which offer socioeconomic diversity.
Based on a new analysis featured in the Wall Street Journal, wealthy people with kids tend to cluster together from the poor more than they were in the 1970’s. Conversely, poor families also do the same.
Families living in well-heeled areas doubled from 7% to 15% from 1970 to 2009, while families living in poor areas also went double from 8% to 18%. These data were revealed on a study by Kendra Bischoff of Cornell University and Sean Reardon at Stanford University.
According to Tim Noah, a contributing writer for MSNBC and the author of The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It, said in an email:
“It seems to me there is something new here, which is the success the affluent realize in achieving their goal of homogeneity. When my parents escaped to the suburbs (New Rochelle, N.Y.) shortly before I was born in 1958, that allowed me to grow up in an affluent suburb with many more people like me than would have been the case had they stayed in Flushing, Queens. But there were still some people who weren’t like me—Italian-American working-class kids, for instance, and low-income black kids (the latter part of the first court-ordered busing program imposed on the North after Brown v. Board of Ed). Residential patterns and government anti-discrimination policy limited the extent to which you could cocoon yourself.”
Slate contributor Dana Goldstein also concluded that those affluent towns remain affluent because they intentionally exclude affordable housing for poor people, with which, as supported by Noah, create a less-mobile workforce since low-earning people can’t afford to live where the jobs are.
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