The Overlooked Factor in the Inequality Conversation: Neighborhood

Census data consistently show that the South Bronx is the poorest neighborhood in New York City, and contains the country's poorest congressional district.

Studies show that middle-class black families tend to still live near pockets of poverty, leading to stagnant economic mobility and persistent problems around violence, education, and more. Jamelle Bouie, writer for Slate, discusses the implications and the link between neighborhood and downward mobility. Plus, calls from those of you who have "escaped" poor neighborhoods: Is there an inherent tension between wanting to move out of a bad neighborhood and the notion that one should stick around and "give back?"

Key Stats About Poverty, Mobility, Race, and Neighborhood

  • Among white children born through 1955 and 1970, four percent live in high poverty neighborhoods.
  • Two percent of black adults born between 1955 and 1970 lived in neighborhoods that were at least 20 percent poor. Meanwhile, 66 percent of blacks born between 1985 and 2000 live in neighborhoods as poor or poorer as those of their parents.
  • Among middle- and upper-class blacks today, about 50 percent were raised in neighborhoods of at least 20 percent poverty. Only one percent of today’s middle- and upper-class whites were.

Stats adapted from Jamelle Bouie's piece on Slate.