Middle Class Disappearing From Cities

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Over the weekend, the New York Times had a fascinating article, based on this Brookings report, about cities that are slowly losing their middle-class residents. For instance, 43 percent of those in New York City are considered high-income and 41 percent low-income, leaving only 16 percent in the middle. Housing costs, as well as the low supply of middle-class jobs, are pushing people out to the suburbs.

This looks like a complex phenomenon with a variety of causes and consequences, but one rather striking effect is that many poor urban dwellers will have a harder time moving up the economic ladder. As a San Francisco Chronicle article noted a few weeks ago, people living in the poorer parts of this city often have nowhere to move if they want to escape. Meanwhile, many middle-income workers who have jobs in the city have to finding affordable housing in the suburbs or exurbs, but that forces them into long commutes and less time at home (not to mention all the carbon emissions given off by those four-hour drives).

At any rate, economists don’t seem to be too worried about any of this, but it seems like the sort of trend that’s drastically understudied and could cause problems down the road. Either way, the article’s worth a read.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate