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Columbus Ranked Among Worst Cities in Income Mobility

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Columbus Ranked Among Worst Cities in Income Mobility

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  • #98073

    Analogue Kid
    Participant

    In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters

    By DAVID LEONHARDT

    PUBLISHED: JULY 22, 2013

    Quote:
    The study — based on millions of anonymous earnings records and being released this week by a team of top academic economists — is the first with enough data to compare upward mobility across metropolitan areas. These comparisons provide some of the most powerful evidence so far about the factors that seem to drive people’s chances of rising beyond the station of their birth, including education, family structure and the economic layout of metropolitan areas.

    Quote:
    Climbing the income ladder occurs less often in the Southeast and industrial Midwest, the data shows, with the odds notably low in Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus. By contrast, some of the highest rates occur in the Northeast, Great Plains and West, including in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and large swaths of California and Minnesota.

    READ MORE: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/business/in-climbing-income-ladder-location-matters.html?hp&_r=1&

    #546926

    drew
    Participant

    It makes sense. Where people of varying incomes live in close proximity, schools are better and the ability to observe talent from a wider spectrum becomes easier as well. It’s not a new observation, but the cities of the midwest have no natural boundaries to contain their sprawl, and it’s probably an unfortunate truism that, when given the opportunity afforded by boundless space, birds of a feather will flock together.

    #546927

    GCrites80s
    Participant

    So, it looks to me that part of it is that we have city/local school districts instead of county school districts.

    Frankly, I thought Columbus’ upward mobility was quite high… but is that due to talented people moving here to make it rather than people from depressed parts of town being able to find good jobs? And I see that it includes surrounding counties. Yeah, most of those counties do have poor upward mobility.

    #546928

    labi
    Participant

    drew said:
    It’s not a new observation, but the cities of the midwest have no natural boundaries to contain their sprawl, and it’s probably an unfortunate truism that, when given the opportunity afforded by boundless space, birds of a feather will flock together.

    I see this very differently. It’s not that poor people just “naturally” choose to live together, it’s that racial covenants and other extra-legal manifestations of segregation lasted well into the 1960s and have shaped the current patterns of residential segregation by income. On top of that, whenever the powers-that-be have somehow been led to provide housing for low-income people, they have preferred to put it in neighborhoods where poverty was already over-concentrated.

    This continues today. Wagenbrenner Development, for example, has done many good things for Weinland Park, but where are they proposing to locate their new affordable housing project? In their big site next to the railroad tracks in Weinland Park, or their big site next to the railroad tracks in Italian Village? A: Weinland Park.

    #546929

    InnerCore
    Participant

    Growing up in the midwest what I have noticed that in a place like Columbus everything can seem monotonous. So the people at the lower end don’t really have a motivating factor to push for a lot more.

    For example most people have friends that lived in a similar area, drove similar cars, etc. You can take a quick drive around Columbus and its not like there is a huge disparity. Take a wealthier area like Upper Arlington. While the houses cost considerably more many of them are very similar to houses in less wealthy area. Then cars, in Columbus you very rarely see expensive cars. Go to Easton and the garage is filled with average cars.

    So you have lower income people by and large living in neighborhoods together because that’s where all their friends and family live. They don’t really have a need to go to UA because they don’t know anyone there. And in the oft chance they do they’ll see many homes that don’t look that different from the outside.

    That’s vastly different than when I lived in places like NY, DC and Miami. The low income and high income households are pretty much all mixed in together. I think a lot of it has to do with public transportation. And the gap between them is much larger. In my building there are people who make $50k a year but in the parking lot there are Ferrari’s and Maserati’s.

    So if I made $50k in Columbus I would probably be content with a nice house with 2 kids, a dog, newer sedan, etc. For the most part you would come off as very successful. But in many of the other cities you would still have so many people who would appear to have a lot more success than you that you interact with on a daily basis that you would feel you need to do more.

    The reverse is that although a place like Columbus may have less upward mobility, plenty of the people who have been deemed to not have moved upward may be happier than those who have moved up in other places.

    #546930

    InnerCore
    Participant

    labi said:
    This continues today. Wagenbrenner Development, for example, has done many good things for Weinland Park, but where are they proposing to locate their new affordable housing project? In their big site next to the railroad tracks in Weinland Park, or their big site next to the railroad tracks in Italian Village? A: Weinland Park.

    Yeah I’ve done a lot of arguing about this. Other cities by either choice or necessity have been moving toward approving their affordable housing in the more desirable locations.

    Like for instance right now most of the new market rate housing is going on in urban areas. To accommodate we should be building our affordable housing in these same urban areas.

    It’s mutually beneficial. After all people aren’t going to be able to afford to live at High Point by working at a downtown CVS. Meanwhile people living in affordable housing would help to boost the area by providing addition people shopping at grocery stores, using the public transit, etc.

    #546931

    rory
    Participant

    InnerCore said:

    For example most people have friends that lived in a similar area, drove similar cars, etc. You can take a quick drive around Columbus and its not like there is a huge disparity. Take a wealthier area like Upper Arlington. While the houses cost considerably more many of them are very similar to houses in less wealthy area. Then cars, in Columbus you very rarely see expensive cars. Go to Easton and the garage is filled with average cars.

    So you have lower income people by and large living in neighborhoods together because that’s where all their friends and family live. They don’t really have a need to go to UA because they don’t know anyone there. And in the oft chance they do they’ll see many homes that don’t look that different from the outside.

    Wrong, black people were not allowed to live in Upper Arlington. I don’t think people really realize how much Columbus is still shaped by segregation.

    http://www.unshovelingthepast.com/2011/10/case-of-race.html

    #546932

    labi
    Participant

    Wow. “You can take a quick drive around Columbus and its not like there is a huge disparity”? Are you kidding? Maybe it’s just proof of successful income segregation that your quick drive can be made without your even seeing any poor people.

    #546933

    InnerCore
    Participant

    labi said:
    Wow. “You can take a quick drive around Columbus and its not like there is a huge disparity”? Are you kidding? Maybe it’s just proof of successful income segregation that your quick drive can be made without your even seeing any poor people.

    I think you’re being a bit sensitive. My point is that in the midwest there isn’t a HUGE disparity from a middle class to upper class. In Columbus for example let’s say a middle class home cost $150k. An upper class home is probably around $500k up to about $1M. Sure there are more expensive homes here or there but it’s not like there that visible.

    Now compare that to other cities where $50M homes are common. That a HUGE gap. So when you look at upward mobility of the middle class there isn’t much incentive to push much farther. If you have a $250k 3/2 home with a newer sedan there isn’t much incentive to push further. However in other areas that $250k home would be considered bottom of the barrel.

    Basically we have a much better cost of living here and therefore more people can attain a more comfortable lifestyle with less.

    Columbus is well below the average when it comes to income inequality:

    http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-16.pdf

    #546934

    InnerCore
    Participant

    rory said:
    Wrong, black people were not allowed to live in Upper Arlington. I don’t think people really realize how much Columbus is still shaped by segregation.

    http://www.unshovelingthepast.com/2011/10/case-of-race.html

    My reference to UA was just to highlight that while its a wealthy area many of the houses there are no different than say the houses in Berwick which is not as wealthy.

    The issue is about upward mobility. That includes people of all races. White people weren’t restricted from living anywhere and yet even white people in the midwest have less upward mobility. My observation was just that because of the gap between the classes is less in the midwest there isn’t that much of a desire to move up at any cost.

    If you have a job that pays good, a decent house, and a decent car, then why bust your ass to have even more when most people around you don’t have more as well. However when you’re the only one on your block with a Honda and everyone else is driving luxury cars then people tend to do more to keep up with the Joneses.

    All else being equal, upward mobility tended to be higher in metropolitan areas where poor families were more dispersed among mixed-income neighborhoods.

    Basically the more someone with a lower income can see others with higher income the more desire they have to attain what these other have. If you live in a low income neighborhood with only other low income people around you then there obviously ins’t anyone else example you can follow.

    #546935
    Not that Tom
    Not that Tom
    Participant

    InnerCore said:
    My observation was just that because of the gap between the classes is less in the midwest there isn’t that much of a desire to move up at any cost.

    Basically the more someone with a lower income can see others with higher income the more desire they have to attain what these other have. If you live in a low income neighborhood with only other low income people around you then there obviously ins’t anyone else example you can follow.

    So to sum up your argument — we in the Midwest are stuck in our incomes because we’re less motivated than those on the East Coast and West Coast.

    I would not presume to know the exact causes of the disparity of income mobility rates regionally, but motivation seems to me a soft attribute of causation on the individual (i.e. blaming people for lack of motivation to have higher incomes), whereas this article seems to suggest that income mobility is affected by economic and social policies dictated by states or localities.

    #546936

    DavidF
    Participant

    Not that Tom said:
    So to sum up your argument — we in the Midwest are stuck in our incomes because we’re less motivated than those on the East Coast and West Coast.

    I would not presume to know the exact causes of the disparity of income mobility rates regionally, but motivation seems to me a soft attribute of causation on the individual (i.e. blaming people for lack of motivation to have higher incomes), whereas this article seems to suggest that income mobility is affected by economic and social policies dictated by states or localities.

    I’m gonna defend innercore here a little. I think he’s not talking about this as though it’s a failing on our part. In fact, I read the part where we may be happier because we don’t have this obsessive drive for more as a whole. (Certainly there are plenty of individual examples) I don’t know if this has an impact or not on income mobility, but it is certainly true that Columbus to me has a much more laid back vibe than cities like New York or Hong Kong.

    Now if only we could teach him to post without sounding condescending (monotonous, really?).

    #546937

    Twixlen
    Participant

    InnerCore said:
    I think you’re being a bit sensitive. My point is that in the midwest there isn’t a HUGE disparity from a middle class to upper class. In Columbus for example let’s say a middle class home cost $150k. An upper class home is probably around $500k up to about $1M. Sure there are more expensive homes here or there but it’s not like there that visible.

    Now compare that to other cities where $50M homes are common. That a HUGE gap. So when you look at upward mobility of the middle class there isn’t much incentive to push much farther. If you have a $250k 3/2 home with a newer sedan there isn’t much incentive to push further. However in other areas that $250k home would be considered bottom of the barrel.

    I feel like you’re missing a whoooole bunch about the psychology of being poor, the realities of being rich, and what real middle class is… particularly in Ohio. Also, let’s just get this one thing out of the way – there isn’t anywhere in the U.S. where $50M homes are “common” – more of them may exist in cities like LA, NYC, or San Fran, that in no way makes them common.

    When you are poor, you aren’t necessarily looking at the lifestyles of others as an attainable thing. It’s one of the most insidious things about living in an environment where all of the poor folks are grouped together, regardless of color/ethnicity – it beats you down, it doesn’t make you ambitious. You’re working too hard to just get by, all the time; you look at everyone who has a good car and lives in a nicer neighborhood as “rich.”

    What Columbus is missing are many folks who are uber rich – those folks do tend to live in bigger “name brand” cities. And, many of the richest people in Columbus choose not to have a Columbus address by living in isolated little pockets of other folks like themselves.

    You are also discounting the impact that real segregation had on this city, and in the south – and the bigger picture of what that means for education now. The number one way for someone to go from being really poor to not being really poor is to get a good education. Education inequality is a massive problem in Ohio. The way the schools are funded is a joke, and with folks like Kasich in power, more and more money gets funneled to school districts that already have plenty, or get funneled to private/charter schools. Big city public education isn’t cared about, on the state level. When you’re poor, getting a good pre-college education is the only way you can even consider college – it’s not like it can be paid for out of pocket. And college is the most common way to bust free from poverty.

    #546938

    labi
    Participant

    InnerCore said:
    My point is that in the midwest there isn’t a HUGE disparity from a middle class to upper class.

    But the article under discussion isn’t about the relationship of middle-to-upper-class, it’s about the bottom fifth compared to the upper fifth. You’re missing the point. As also demonstrated by your example of the person making $50K, as if $50K is low income.

    Anyway, if you want to say that your personal impressions counter the conclusions of the most extensive research on this subject ever conducted, go right ahead. But we’re actually trying to talk about poor people here, not just get into another argument about middle class vs upper middle class.

    #546939

    zp945
    Participant

    InnerCore said:
    I think you’re being a bit sensitive. My point is that in the midwest there isn’t a HUGE disparity from a middle class to upper class. In Columbus for example let’s say a middle class home cost $150k. An upper class home is probably around $500k up to about $1M. Sure there are more expensive homes here or there but it’s not like there that visible.

    Now compare that to other cities where $50M homes are common. That a HUGE gap. So when you look at upward mobility of the middle class there isn’t much incentive to push much farther. If you have a $250k 3/2 home with a newer sedan there isn’t much incentive to push further. However in other areas that $250k home would be considered bottom of the barrel.

    Basically we have a much better cost of living here and therefore more people can attain a more comfortable lifestyle with less.

    Columbus is well below the average when it comes to income inequality:

    http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-16.pdf

    Where is it that $50M homes are common? How do you define common? http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/18/million-dollar-homes-lifestyle-real-estate-homes.html just a few years ago there were only 36 homes for sale over $45M nationwide! I think a better comparison would be the average middle class house cost 500K and the average high end houses cost 5-7M, so about 10 times or right in line with 150K to 1M example you gave for Columbus.

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