Income: The New Segregation

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from NCPA,

Income is the new boundary line in U.S. neighborhoods, but money is not the answer, says Kevin D. Williamson, a roving correspondent for National Review.

If you divided American families into six graduated income groups — poor, low-income, lower-middle, upper-middle, high-income and affluent — and took a trip in time back to the Age of Disco, you’d find that nearly two-thirds of all American families lived in neighborhoods with median incomes in the middle two groups: lower-middle and upper-middle. Return to the present day and you’ll find that fewer than half of American families live in middle-income neighborhoods.

Those are the findings of Kendra Bischoff of Cornell University and Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University in their recent study “Residential Segregation by Income, 1970-2009,” published by the Russell Sage Foundation.

While the research is mixed on how great an impact things like school funding and peer-group composition have on long-term outcomes for children, it seems likely that the effects of these factors is large, at least for some significant group of children, namely potential high-performers who may not develop their talents and interests unless and until they discover the right opportunities. The most important social habits are learned, but they are not taught; children pick them up from those around them, the same way they pick up language.

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