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In the city's constant compulsion to reinvent itself, it lost an important part of itself instead.
Race has always been the throughline in every significant discussion about Atlanta, but as the metro area grows ever more diverse, the story is much more than black and white
The study examined the correlation between sprawl and economic mobility. People who live in high-sprawl metro areas have lower rates of economic opportunity than those who live in more densely developed cities. “A low income person in a compact area has much better access to jobs,” said lead research Reid Ewing.
Well, no matter how statisticians choose to quantify the chasm between the country's haves and have-nots; metro Atlanta keeps coming out on top. The latest: an Urban Institute study that shows three metro counties rank in the top 10 for an affordable housing gap.
I wish I could say that last week’s Brookings Institution report stating that Atlanta has the highest income disparity of any big U.S. city was a surprise. But it wasn’t. As I read through the details of the analysis—which compares the ratio of the city’s top earners to those in the lowest fifth of household incomes—I couldn’t shake a particular mental image: a drive that I have made dozens of times in recent months while reporting a story for next month’s issue of the magazine.
You don’t have to be a statistician or policy analyst to understand that there’s a huge gap between Atlanta’s haves and haves-not. Just walk down Edgewood Avenue on any given evening, where you will find one group of people sleeping on the sidewalks of the Downtown Connector underpass and another paying $20 for parking spots in an empty lot near a bar called Church.