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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.