Racial segregation in American cities have declined slowly over the years, but really steadily over the last four decades. Now this IS good news! Over the sane time frame, the level of economic segregation has been rising. Compared to 1970, the rich are more likely to live in more wealthy, affluent neighborhoods than the less fortunate.
The segregation of urban neighborhoods by income has received much less attention than residential segregation by race and ethnicity, but there is growing evidence to suggest that we should start thinking about what this worrying trend means for economic opportunity in America.
Note: Segregation Hurts Social Mobility: In a report produced for the Pew Charitable Trusts Economic Mobility Project, it is in urban areas with higher levels of income segregation, there is less economic mobility.
Further, the degree to which the poor live apart from the rich is a more robust predictor of economic mobility than the overall amount of inequality within a metropolitan area. In other words, what matters is just not the size of the gap between the poorest and the richest residents of a metro area, but how the richest and poorest are sorted across different communities.
In an economically segregated city, growing up in poverty means living in a neighborhood that offers lower quality schools, fewer economic opportunities and more violence. Fore those on top of the economic successfully totem pole, growing up in a wealthy atmosphere means attending well-resourced schools, having access to economic opportunities through advantaged social networks, and being shielded from the social problems that arise in poorer communities.
–Why Neighborhoods Matter–
The prospects for upward mobility among children growing up in poor cities with high economic segregation appear very differently from the prospects for children growing up poor in a city with less economic segregation. The study of economic mobility must shift toward a focus on cities and states within the United States., rather than focusing on a single measure of mobility for the nation as a whole.