The U.S. Census bureau has released the latest data on median household income across the nation.
New York NPR member station WNYC has created an interactive map that measures income trends across neighborhoods allowing users to explore differences in income down to the state and county.
Dante Chini, director of the American Communities Project at American University in Washington, D.C., explained the importance of examining the nation’s differences in income and wealth on the NPR program The Takeway.
He points out the areas in the nation currently doing the best economically are the metropolitan areas outside of America’s biggest cities.
“The first thing you’ll notice is that the areas around the cities, they’re not the 1 percent, but you see a breakout there. You see wealthy areas in places we call the urban suburbs,” said Chini.
He says the middle of the nation’s big cities tend to have the largest wealth gaps, with household median income changing rapidly.
“You’ve got a lot of intense wealth and a lot of intense poverty packed in very close together.”
Chini explains one of the most important reasons for income mapping is the ability to show where the nation is still recovering from the economic recession, especially in rural areas that weren’t doing well before the economic downtown- places he describes as “graying America.”
‘What’s happening is, it’s a brain drain from what’s happening in rural America, urban America, and suburban America. It’s a trend that really bears watching. We’re going to have to figure out what we’re going to do if so many areas of the county seems to be falling behind pretty dramatically.”
Listen to the full audio of Dante Chinni’s interview below: