Despite relative prosperity in the United States, the gap between the rich and the poor is at its widest since data collection began in the 1960s. “Everyone knows wealth is concentrating,” reports Bloomberg Business News, setting up its article that ranks neighborhoods where the rich are flocking.
“Workers experience starkly different versions of America depending on which city or neighborhood they live in,” write the authors. “One way to measure the economic fortunes of a place is by the concentration of households earning $200,000 or more, the highest threshold in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.”
Nationally, 6.9 percent of Americans fall into the $200,000-plus income bracket, Bloomberg notes, and maps the 100 neighborhoods with the most growth in concentration of these high earners.
Notably, two areas stand out: the Pacific Northwest and the Washington, D.C., suburbs, each boasting 29 such neighborhoods. (Note: The study excluded recently created tracts, those defined as tracts of significant change and any tract with fewer than 100 households in either 2000 or 2017.)
In a testament to how fortunes can quickly (relatively speaking) change, the tract with the fastest-growing concentration of wealth was “ironically, the area around where the Cabrini-Green public housing projects once stood,” in Chicago’s Cook County.
Bloomberg notes that the public housing projects were demolished in the 1990s by the Chicago Housing Authority, despite concerns over displacing low-income families.
“Two decades later, the area’s concentration of $200,000-plus households has skyrocketed from zero to 39 percent,” Bloomberg writes. “For some of the longtime residents who remain, the neighborhood’s transformation has been isolating.”
Row houses that once housed low-income residents have been transformed into luxury condominiums. One resident notes that the gentrification has made her feel like a stranger in her own home: “As poor as we were growing up, I didn’t realize we were poor—because it felt like a community,” she told Bloomberg. “Now it doesn’t feel like a community.”
Writers also focused on the Washington, D.C., suburb Arlington, Va.
“If there’s one place in America that doesn’t need a helping hand from Jeff Bezos, it could be this one,” reports Bloomberg. “The Washington commuter area is home to four of the top 10 (Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6) fastest-growing census tracts of high earners. As a bedroom community for the nation’s capital, it already had significant concentrations of wealth back in 2000. But since then, it’s gotten so rich that in some areas around half of households earn more than $200,000.”