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Published: Thursday, 8/2/2012

U.S. neighborhoods divided increasingly by income

BY RITA PRICE
COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Upper-income and lower-income Americans are more likely now than 30 years ago to live in economically segregated neighborhoods, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data released Wednesday.

The tendency toward residential separation rose in 27 of the nation's 30 largest metropolitan areas. Toledo is the 82nd biggest metro area, so it was not included in the analysis.

In 2010, 28 percent of the nation's low-income households were in a census tract in which a majority of residents also were low-income, up from 23 percent in 1980.

About 18 percent of high-income households were in majority high-income areas in 2010, a big jump from 9 percent in 1980, the report said.

The list is based on a formula researchers call the Residential Income Segregation Index. It's computed by adding the share of low-income residents who live in a majority low-income census tract to the share of upper-income residents who live in a majority upper-income census tract.

Higher scores reflect more income segregation. The three most segregated areas are in Texas: San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas. Minneapolis, Portland, Ore., and Orlando had the lowest economic segregation in their census tracts.

All three Ohio cities that were included in the study are more segregated than average.

Columbus ranked No. 7, just below Detroit. Cincinnati was 14th and Cleveland 16th. About 34 percent of lower-income households in the Columbus area live in majority lower-income census tracts, and about 19 percent of upper-income households are in majority upper-income census tracts.

The report defined lower income in Columbus as households with a maximum annual income of $34,999; upper income was set at a minimum of $106,000.

Read more of this story at dispatch.com.



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