This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Visualizing the Decline of the Middle Class in American Cities

Thanks to my colleague Stuart Aitken for pointing to a story in today's Guardian that offers some truly amazing visualizations of the growing income inequality in America's cities. Max Galka of the Cities project put together the data. The maps are interactive, so you have to see them in person to get the most out of this, but here are the graphs for income distribution in 1970 in major U.S. cities compared with the distribution in 2015.

The graphic above shows the change in income distribution in 20 major US cities between 1970 and 2015. In 1970, each of these cities exhibits a near-symmetrical, bell-shaped income distribution – a high concentration of households in the middle, with narrow tails of low and high-income households on either end. By 2015, the distributions have grown more polarised – fewer middle-income households, and more households in the low-income and/or high-income extremes.
This is happening not just in the cities, of course, but throughout the country, and indeed throughout much of the world, as I've noted often before

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