October 25, 2007

Two Districts

A new study of the Washington DC economy finds that the capital has the third-greatest level of income inequality of any American city. Plus:

-- The gap between high-wage and low-wage workers in the District is at an all-time high.
-- Between the early 1980s and early 2000s, the average income of the poorest fifth of DC households rose three percent. The average income of the wealthiest fifth rose 81 percent.
-- African-American median income is no higher than in 1980.
-- African-American residents are five times more likely than white residents to be unemployed.

The conclusion? -- "These findings show that the District has two different economies: one represented by construction cranes, new jobs, and growing incomes—-and another represented by people who work but earn very little, who are not moving into better jobs or higher wages, and who may not be working at all. The gleaming side of DC’s economy could continue to grow and prosper, but there is little evidence to suggest it would lead to any improvements for the thousands of residents who live on the other side."