Research shows the Ann Arbor area is the 8th most economically segregated region in the United States

According to a new study authored by Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander for Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute, the greater Ann Arbor region is the 8th most economically segregated metropolitan area in the United States. Here, from a piece Florida just wrote for the website City Lab, is a quote which should provide a bit of context.

“The geographical sorting of Americans by income, education and socio-economic class is growing. A 2012 report by the Pew Research Center found that the segregation of upper- and lower-income households had risen in 27 of the country’s 30 largest metros. Inequality is increasingly baked into the economic geography of the United States.”

Unfortunately, though, according to Florida and Mellander, while we’ve known for some time that this was happening, people who study such things have lacked the ability to really quantify and track this increasing segregation in a holistic, meaningful way that looks beyond just household income. It’s because of this, Florida says, that he and Mellander have created a new index – which they’re calling the Economic Segregation Index – to measure it… one which looks across a broad range of factors including education, income and occupation. And, it’s this new index that ranks the greater Ann Arbor area, which includes Ypsilanti, a .902, placing it above Los Angeles, New York City, and every other American college town except for Austin. If you’re interested in such things, I’d encourage you to read the entire report, titled Segregated City, to get a better sense of their methodology. Here, however, is how the report begins.


And here is the ranking of the worst metro areas in America when it comes to economic segregation, according to the Economic Segregation Index, followed by a map of the United States in which those areas with the greatest degree of economic segregation are shown in deeper purple.


Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.53.12 PM

None of this, of course, is anything new. Those of us who have been paying attention have known for a decade or more that the non-wealthy were being forced out of Ann Arbor. And, even those of us who weren’t paying attention, had it spelled out for us in vivid detail a month or so ago by consultants brought in by Wasthenaw County to assess the availability of affordable housing in the area. As you may recall, the consultants, who spent a good deal of their time explaining to people in Ann Arbor why it wasn’t tenable for all of the area’s poor to just live in Ypsilanti, warned of what would happen if we stayed on our current trajectory.

You are increasingly becoming a county with an area of concentrated wealth and an area of the opposite,” one of the consultants told the members of Ann Arbor’s Planning Commission. And this “balance problem” between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, he added, is the most troublesome issue the County faces. And he’s right. It’s simply not tenable for one community to be designated as the de facto home of a region’s poor. Without tax revenues to provide things like police and fire services, good schools and working streetlights, cities collapse. And it’s for this reason that more and more of us are calling for regional solutions that seek to better balance our individual communities… That means more affordable housing in Ann Arbor, and policies that encourage more economically well-off individuals and families to consider Ypsilanti. Without greater balance within our individual communities, and more of a regional perspective with regard to things like public education, transportation and affordable housing, Ypsilanti will fail, and our failure will reverberate through the entire region. So I’d suggest that it’s time for those of us in Ann Arbor to look beyond the walls of our gated communities, and give some serious thought as to how the actions of one city impact another.

But not everyone wants to listen to reason. Many in our area genuinely believe the poor of Michigan don’t deserve Ann Arbor – that’s what Ypsilanti is for.

Thankfully some in Ann Arbor are at least saying the right things, like Washteanw County Commissioner Conan Smith, who took to Facebook today to say the following about the findings of this new report on economic segregation.

“Ann Arbor is the 8th most economically segregated metro in the nation according to Richard Florida, writing in The Atlantic this week. Our team at the County, led by Mary Jo Callan has proposed an aggressive strategy for diversifying housing availability across our urban footprint that needs your support. But this is just the beginning. Florida’s analysis is built not on housing but on three drivers of socioeconomic status: education, income and occupation. We need to be investing more heavily in preK-college strategies and supporting stronger wages (like Yousef Rabhi is leading with our friends in labor).

Personally, I don’t know if our elected leaders in Ann Arbor have the political will to address this in a substantive way. I think, in the eyes of many in Ann Arbor, being 8th on this list is a good thing. People many deny it, but I suspect a great many like living in a community that’s trending toward greater economic segregation. It means that low achievers have been forced out, and replaced with people who are more successful. It means that tax revenues are rising, and that schools are getting “better”. It means having to provide fewer costly services for the poor. It means being surrounded by individuals who are more likely to look and act like you. And it means never having to worry whether or not you can keep the street lights lit… But it’s also not sustainable. You can not continue to push out the poor by eliminating affordable housing and hiring “ambassadors” on Segways to keep the homeless from your downtown. No, eventually the chickens come home to roost.

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  1. Posted February 25, 2015 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Ann Arbor, Ypsi and Pittsfield were the same town if it would still come up so high. I don’t know how they figured this, but I’m assuming that borders matter.

  2. kjc
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    there goes that “importing poverty” theory.

  3. jcp2
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Peter, the Ann Arbor moniker used in the report refers to the Ann Arbor metro census area, which includes Ypsilanti and Pittsfield. The authors looked at variations within the census areas of the distribution of various groups (no college degree vs college degree, low income vs high income, knowledge worker vs service worker vs blue collar worker) and correlated it to other demographic features (metro size, density, racial makeup, foreign born, gay, transit, among others). Then they ranked the metro areas according to R values to come up with 7 different rankings.

    While each analysis was somewhat interesting, there were a lot of areas where correlation between variables was extremely high between the analyses. Rather than doing a regression multivariable analysis to find the individual strength of each variable, they did a summation of ranks across all analyses to come up with a final ranking, so lots of double counting was going on.

    Although this final “economic segregation” list makes great headlines (perhaps reflecting the authors ultimate intent), it is largely useless from a policy standpoint. Looking at the metro ranks with the highest rank on this scale is just like looking at growing, successful metros in general. The metros with the lowest ranks on this list tend to be moribund metros with significant loss of industry and economic development.

    What they have demonstrated is that people in positions of relative income, educational, or time (creative class being a proxy for this) have more choices, and tend to exercise those choices to their advantage by gravitating towards successful metros, and then choosing where they live within those successful metros.

  4. jcp2
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I forgot to insert a word. The first sentence of the last paragraph should read “…people in positions of relative income, educational, or time (creative class being a proxy for this) privilege have more choices…”

  5. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, based on his past research and conclusions, any studies with Florida’s name attached should be met with a high degree of skepticism.

  6. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Four of the top five most segregated cities on this list are (more or less) college towns. I wonder how Ypsilanti would rank if Ypsilanti was treated as its own entity? The socioeconomic demographic in Ypsilanti is hugely variable according to neighborhood, in my opinion.

  7. Jim
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    The Ann Arbor Metropolitan Statistical Area analyzed in this study includes the whole county. The 2010 population of the county was 354,240, Ann Arbor’s population was 113,934, and Ypsilanti city’s was 19,435. Almost 2/3 of the county’s population lives outside these two cities. We have to think about economic segregation on a county level, and not limit discussion to A2 and Ypsi (and perhaps also Pittsfield).

  8. Eel
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised Ann Arbor Spark didn’t put out a press release celebrating this achievement.

  9. Dan
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Maybe instead of only blaming Ann Arbor for not welcoming the poor, you should also look at how Ypsi falls over itself to invite more poor people.

    Someone should have told city council that voting to give the already enormously subsidized Water Street Flats a PILOT incentive a week or so ago would not help the situation of Ypsi being the “de facto home of a region’s poor.”

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    The DDA and SPARK have been talking for years about Richard Florida and the Creative Class and building ‘creative spaces’ to attract them. The well-heeled Tech folk also love to talk about these kind of free play spaces– which likely means in combo we will have more arts spaces soon– which is cool. BUT no one seems to be really considering (other than Avalon Housing) that the creative class needs to be able to LIVE here to make any of those spaces viable. And, no, the creative class is not all IT people…. yet. Then, no other than the lauded Mr. Florida, himself, comes out with a study that shows that A2 has the 8th worst economic segregation problem in the country. So now maybe the powers that be (and it’s NOT the creative class) will decide they should do something about it.

  11. John CP
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Jean, your definition of creative class and Florida’s definition are very different. His definition includes “occupations spanning computer science and mathematics; architecture, engineering; life, physical, and social science; education, training, and library science; arts and design, entertainment, sports, and media; and management, business and finance, law, sales management, healthcare, and education”. By that definition, Ann Arbor is doing very well.

  12. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The term “creative class” was construed so widely by Florida that it includes almost everybody with a good paying job.

  13. Steve Pickard
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I know the talking heads on mlive and the city council are obsessed with the affordable housing but it seems to me that retail is just as responsible for pushing the demographic to the affluent locally…for every Arbor Hills, “Lucky’s Market”, new Whole Foods , Hopcat, expansion of Babu. or…egads I know this a firepot…Zingerman’s new project…as well any other upscale artisanisal brewing depot slash farm-to-table ramen slurp factory thingie in Ann Arbor that get all the ballyhoo…there seems to be a corresponding trend in Ypsi for another Dollar store or public housing allotment. I know I miss the golden days of not having to pay over $5 for a draft beer or being able to get a fast lunch downtown for under $12 within Ann arbor city limits. I noticed the change at the retail level first (maybe from what I do…most likely…but still…)

  14. Kim
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Here’s one more for your list, Steve. I twas announced today that Shinola would be opening an Ann Arbor boutique.

  15. kjc
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    “Maybe instead of only blaming Ann Arbor for not welcoming the poor, you should also look at how Ypsi falls over itself to invite more poor people.”

    maybe instead of anthropomorphizing structural inequality… oh never mind.

  16. Dan
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    maybe instead of providing useless quips on every one of my posts… oh never mind. thats all you’re good for

  17. Lynne
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    It is a shame that we do this. The thing is, there are huge structural problems contributing to this. I was just talking to someone about one of them. A very real one. In 2000, I was in the market to buy a house. There were a couple of neighborhoods in Ann Arbor that I could afford and a couple of neighborhoods in Ypsilanti that I could afford. I chose Ypsi for many reasons and although I don’t regret that decision, the fact is that there is a real cost to own a home in Ypsi. This is true of all cities with any significant number of poor people.

    The cost, btw, has to do with housing appreciation. My house is currently worth roughly what I paid for it but had I bought in Ann Arbor, I would have a house worth much more, tens of thousands of dollars more. Now, this wasn’t completely unexpected. I grew up in Detroit and watched the same thing happen to parents. Money wasn’t my only concern when choosing a house. It is mostly an obvious symbol to me how structural this income segregation is. I might be willing to lose that kind of money in order to live in a community as great as I think Ypsilanti is but not everyone else is willing to go into an investment where there is such a good possibility of the ROI not matching neighboring richer and whiter communities.

    However, unless we can deal with the underlying structural problems such as our collective distaste for poor people, nothing is going to change. Areas that are successfully able to drive out poor people, such as Ann Arbor, tend to have property that appreciates faster. You see this in established areas and you see this too in areas which are gentrifying.

    I mean, I can think of many solutions which would help cities with lots of poor people compete for residents but none of them are likely to make it though our state legislature. Even just a simple law which forbids insurance companies from charging people based on their address would be a help. Revenue sharing with local governments would also help (IIRC Minneapolis has done this to great success). I have tons of liberal ideas, many of which have been proven in the real world, but not one of them has a hope in heck in passing.

  18. Steve Pickard
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    My most recent bugaboo is…oh god here that damn Ann Arbor News is again…Mlive’s …penchant for constantly framing every socio-economic trend (affordable housing, income disparity, economic disparity, even academic test scores in the high schools…) in what I call “tale of two cities” mode, which is always always Ann Arbor Vs. Ypsilanti, which seems myopic to me. I only say this as coming from a blue collar suburb of Detroit, a distaste for the poor is such a novel, alien idea to me on the face of it, as, for most of life, EVERYONE was poor. I’m beginning to think Ann Arbor really is an alien sort of society with the cliche of “30 square miles surrounded by reality” on the posters we occasionally see around town, being no actual cliche. Ann Arbor is actually the anomaly when it comes to economic segregation it seems, as if one goes east from Ypsi, communities like Romulus, Inkster, and the like are basically just like Ypsi, just without a college, and in the Detroit area, communities like Royal Oak or Ferndale, are, also not too dissimilar to Ann Arbor, and one never hears how Royal Oak shuts out its poor and ships them to Hazel Park…nee Hazel Tucky, or how Ferndale redlines Highland Park (at least anymore…it once did…Pleasantridge probably still does…), with near the propensity that Ann Arbor dumps on its neighbor Ypsilanti. I think the dirty little secret is alot of wealth really is concentrated in Ann Arbor, and that it really does set itself up to drive out its poor people, but I guess time will tell. I do think the area was much more economically diverse when I was a child and on even up through those bygone days of the late 90’s when Ann Arbor actually had a Republican mayor at one time…it seems very stratified now in comparison to what it was.

  19. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Following Lynne’s comment, as counter intuitive as it might sound–it is often much more expensive to live in a poor community. Not only is your house not appreciating rapidly, but you are paying more, in the form of a higher tax rate, to invest in a Ypsilanti home. I have said it before, if you work in Ann Arbor and live in Ypsilanti, you might be under the illusion that you are saving money but you are probably losing money when you factor, taxes, insurance, property valuation and increased commuting expenses. If you live in Ypsilanti, work in Ann Arbor, and feel the need to send your kids to private school then….well let’s just say….not everyone is rich enough to live in Ypsilanti.

    Following Steve’s comment, I would say, in terms of socioeconomics, half of Ypsilanti neighborhoods are actually very similar to Ann Arbor and very dissimilar to inkster or Romulus. Whereas the other half of Ypsilanti neighborhoods are very much like Inkster and Romulus and are very different from Ann Arbor. My point is: Ypsilanti is a very segregated community. I think people, for whatever reason, like to pretend that Ypsilanti is more integrated than it actually is…

    A huge red flag is Richard Florida’s name is attached to this research. His theories about a creative class, although not outright false, consists of a tautological argument, in my opinion. Who knows what we might be getting if Florida is guilty of combining tautology and gerrymandering to make his point/ get attention / sell books?

  20. Tony
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a fan of “lists” like this. Some look at it and say, “Look! I’m not on this list. I have nothing to fix.” Those on the list overreact. With any study like this, it should always be looked at with a high degree of skepticism. The fact that New York City and Chicago, for example, aren’t on the list makes me think their findings are suspect.

    With all of that said, there is work to do in Ann Arbor to create affordable housing. A few years ago, my wife was at KFC (she’s addicted to fried chicken) and saw a bus pull up with a bunch of employees. She realized that KFC had to bus employees in because they couldn’t afford to live in the area.

    The report might have flaws, but it doesn’t change the fact that cities that are seeing housing and living costs go up need to focus on how to keep their populations economically diverse.

  21. Posted February 25, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a fan of Florida’s, but I felt that this was worth sharing in that it was one more data point confirming what we’ve been talking about here for years, which is that wealth is concentrating in Ann Arbor to the detriment of the surrounding community.

  22. Jim
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Economic segregation is a serious problem, but it’s misleading to say that wealth is concentrating in Ann Arbor. In the 2010 census, per capita income for Ann Arbor was lower than per capita income for the county as a whole ($26,419 v. $27,173). With the exception of Ypsilanti city, Ann Arbor’s “surrounding communities” have per capita incomes similar to or higher than Ann Arbor’s—in some cases much higher. Ann Arbor should lead in addressing this problem, but Ann Arbor comprises only a third of the county’s population, and other communities will have to help solve this county-wide problem.

  23. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Does anybody have a theory why the census numbers for income in Ann Arbor are so unbelievably low? Students?

  24. Jim
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I made a mistake–those numbers were from 2000, not 2010. The Census Bureau’s estimated per capita income for 2013 is $34,247 for Ann Arbor and $33,231 for Washtenaw County.

    The Census counts students in the community where they live most of the year, so students no doubt pull down Ann Arbor’s per capita income. The percentage of Ann Arbor residents below the poverty level is 22.1%, but again that must include students. Median household income for 2009-2013 in Ann Arbor was $55,003.

  25. murph
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Frosted flakes: yep, students, in part. And, Ann Arbor does have a large quantity of affordable housing units.

    As you note in your earlier comment, though, this is not “ypsilanti vs Ann Arbor”, but neighborhood by neighborhood: normal park is very different from worworden gardens, and ann arbor hills is very different from packard/platt, even though both those pairs are side by side in their cities. Posing this as a city-wide comparison hides the disparities within each community, and posing it as a2 vs ypsi hides both that and the contribution of the rest of the county. (Barton Hills is among the 10 wealthiest-per-capita municipalities in michgan, and haven’t been mentioned once here.)

  26. EOS
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    If economic disparity between communities is a bad thing, then Ypsilanti City should take steps to alleviate the “problem” within its borders before it points the finger at other communities. The concentration of low income households south of Michigan avenue is glaring in a community where the majority consider themselves educated and progressive. The racial segregation is one aspect that makes Ypsilanti City undesireable.

    The American dream has always been to work hard to achieve success so that you can afford to live in a nice community with a sound infrastructure and good schools. If you eliminate that opportunity within the region, then many will leave for places that still provide that possibility. Homoginizing a region so that all is equal will leave no one satisfied. Siphoning funds from neighboring communities to pay for the infrastructure of a failing community will only excacerbate the problems and cause the failure of all.

  27. Jcp2
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure that’s not the American Dream.

  28. kjc
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    lol @Jcp2.

  29. Steve Pickard
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Some friends from Detroit…real never left always lived there OLD detroit, not “i just moved to Corktown from [ insert burb or out of state area] and work at Astro Coffee inbetween trying to establish my pickle factory & owl habitat in an empty warehouse” NEW Detroit…always refer to Ypsilanti as “Little Detroit”. I see some similarities occasionally…especially with the development focus concentration on downtown areas (Mich Ave / Depotown = Downtown / midtown, specific [ primarily white?] neighborhoods [Normal Park / Depotown > Corktown / Midtown etc.) and the blatant ignoring of certain neighborhoods (The entire west side of Detroit > West Willow, Southside, etc.). It’s an interesting analogy. Ann Arbor would be Birmingham, of course in this analogy.

  30. Lynne
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Wow. I am shocked. I completely agree with EOS on something. Ypsilanti is diverse as a city but it ends there. Our neighborhoods, not so much. I am not sure how to address that on the city level though.

    As an aside, I really hate the whole Old Detroit/New Detroit thing. It is just a little bit too elitist for me. And I say this as someone with some serious “Old Detroit” credentials too (I know all about the “pickle factory”, LOL) even though I don’t currently live there. While I agree that many neighborhoods get overlooked, I also feel that the city is big enough for everyone.

  31. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Ypsilanti needs to look itself in the mirror and try to take an inventory of its own psychological projections?

  32. Steve Pickard
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, I would agree that the old Detroit / new Detroit thing is snobbish on both sides and over worked…more than anything else it seems a media generated thing, and I half expect that the “hipsters out of corktown!” graffiti that sprung up in mexicantown last summer was most likely spraypainted by a hipster, but past the easy fun that can be poked, there does seem to be much gentrification going on vs. continued neglect of the outer ring neighborhoods, but that’s been going on for years, just seems in hyperdrive at the moment with all the coverage of the bike and watch shops and pickle factories.

    I guess my analogy goes to a deeper issue of “death by comparison” (at least regionally and with that fucking Mlive and its constant comparisons of the place to Ann You Know Who…): Ypsilanti ISN’T a “failed community”, it’s NOT a place with some massive unaddressed disparities and inequities bleeding decline and decay ready to sink in a morass of poorly concieved public works and projects…it’s actually an evoling relatively exciting place with issues regarding income, diversity, real estate, etc. just like anywhere else, and comparably less Quality of Life issues (with more compensations to boot…) than some other regional areas (Saginaw, Bay City? anyone?) that don’t get near the same coverage and comparison on a constant basis and fly under a radar of (over?) analysis that Ann Arbor News seems to spotlight on Ypsi like a homing beacon on a slow news day.

  33. Lynne
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    There are some bad feelings in certain neighborhoods which are gentrifying to be sure. Some of those bad feelings towards the newcomers is totally justified too in that some of the new arrivals are not good at treating the existing residents and their culture with respect. Anyways, I didn’t realize you were talking about an actual pickle factory. I thought you were making a reference to Cass Tech which has been lovingly referred to as “The Pickle Factory” for decades.

    I don’t disagree with you about the media coverage regarding Ypsilanti. However, I think it would be nice to talk about certain structural tax problems which really do make things more difficult for taxpayers in Ypsilanti vs taxpayers in Ann Arbor. I don’t know. Maybe people can’t look at those kinds of problems without blaming the residents of the cities which are getting the short end of the stick. Goodness knows, a great many people blame all of Detroit’s problems on its current residents even though those problems are largely structural and have nothing to do with the residents or how they vote.

  34. tommy
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I moved here in 1981. Ann Arbor has always been somewhat ‘unaffordable’ and has been economically segregated for a long time.

    Nothing new here.

    Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield are economically segregated too – even more so than A2, but the fact that they are part of a metropolitan area much larger than ann arbor’s ranking of 147 certainly comes into play.

    Nothing to get too bent out of shape over

  35. Meta
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Concentrate put out part one of a two part series on the issue of economic segregation in Ann Arbor today.

    There’s nothing quite like having your hard work validated—even when your work has revealed some pretty dire news. In February, just a month after the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development’s Housing Affordability and Economic Equity Analysis uncovered a deep socioeconomic divide in the region (including the fact that housing in Ann Arbor is virtually unaffordable to the middle class), the Martin Prosperity Institute released a study identifying Ann Arbor as the eighth most socioeconomically segregated metro in the country.

    Think about that: There are more than 380 defined metropolitan areas in the United States. Ann Arbor is more socioeconomically segregated than all but seven of them.
    Of 380 defined metropolitan areas in the United States, Ann Arbor is more socioeconomically segregated than all but seven.

    “It is certainly something to take notice of with concern,” says Director of Washtenaw County’s Office of Community & Economic Development Mary Jo Callan. “It was surprising to see though, that this is clearly a dynamic that is bigger than the Ann Arbor area, and interestingly, impacting college towns in particular.”

    The Martin Prosperity Institute report certainly exposes Ann Arbor’s socioeconomic issues as a national trend. After all, the conversation about rising income inequality is nothing new, but this study goes a step further, considering income, education and occupation—factors that give a more comprehensive view of the issue.

    “It is not just that the economic divide in America has grown wider,” write researchers Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander in the study, “it’s that the rich and poor effectively occupy different worlds, even when they live in the same cities and metros.”

    What does that mean? While Florida and Mellander concede that affluent neighborhoods have long existed, “the people who cut the lawns, cooked and served the meals, and fixed the plumbing in their big houses used to live nearby—close enough to vote for the same councilors, judges, aldermen, and members of the board of education.”

    Not so much anymore. And, increasingly, not here in Ann Arbor. In this two-part series, we’ll examine what is contributing to the socioeconomic divide here, as well as what steps could potentially be taken to correct it.

    Read more:

13 Trackbacks

  1. […] [This, by the way, was recently confirmed by researchers in Toronto who, just earlier this week, ranked the greater Ann Arbor region (defined as the Washtenaw County census tract) as being the 8th ….] And, if not dealt with, the authors of the Washtenaw County Affordable Housing Needs Assessment […]

  2. […] this might strike a chord with some of you in the Ann Arbor area with whom I’ve discussed similar issues in the […]

  3. […] As I recall, just after having made that statement, I noted that, despite what I’d said, there were still a number of artists doing interesting work in Ann Arbor, many of whom I call my friends. Furthermore, I think it’s worth pointing out that the quote in question was offered in the context of a conversation about the Shadow Art Fair, which a few friends and I launched in Ypsilanti at roughly the same time that the Tech Center was shuttered. I’d been talking with the writer from The Ann about how we’d launched the Shadow Art Fair as counterpoint to Ann Arbor’s very successful, but much derided, Art Fair, during which hundreds of successful artists from around the country pay thousands of dollars for the opportunity to sell their work to wealthy people who have empty living room walls to fill. I wasn’t, in other words, just going out of my way to say the arts scene in Ann Arbor was dead. I was merely sharing this memory I had of the moment when I’d heard the Tech Center was closing to make room for a pilates and yoga complex, and how it struck me as a pivotal, symbolic moment… not necessarily because all of the great artists who lived in town had studios there, or because all of the folks who were pushed out would invariably leave Ann Arbor, but because it seemed symptomatic of a bigger shift in Ann Arbor. […]

  4. […] that have arisen in part as a result of their policies. It was their policies that made ours the eighth most economically segregated region in the United States. By systematically reducing affordable housing, pushing their most needy citizens to Ypsilanti, […]

  5. By Ann Arbor declares itself to be “Compassionate” on September 9, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    […] those surrounding communities to which their poor have been driven. [Let’s not forget that the Ann Arbor region is the 8th most economically segregated in the entire nation.] The following comes by way of the Ann Arbor […]

  6. […] already the 8th most economically segregated region in the United States and I don’t know that we’re seeing any signs of it getting […]

  7. […] now we don’t just know that our area is the 8th most economically segregated in the country, and that our poor aren’t benefiting for Ann Arbor’s booming knowledge economy, but we […]

  8. […] in Ann Arbor to help address the growing economic segregation we’re seeing as a community. (Our’s is now the 8th most economically segregated region in the entire United States.) My guests and I discussed the 50-unit affordable housing development that’s been proposed on […]

  9. […] Let’s all remember that, according to a recent study by Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute, the greater Ann Arbor region is the 8th most economically segregated metropolitan area in the United…. Like it or not, this isn’t just about our competing school districts trying to remain solvent. […]

  10. […] unit reaching $334,800, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that, according to Florida, ours is the 8th most economically segregated community in the United States, with fewer and fewer places for the non-wealthy to live. And it certainly isn’t helped by […]

  11. By My thoughts on International Village on September 21, 2017 at 8:04 am

    […] subject, I think that we need a comprehensive countywide plan to address the fact that we live in the 8th most economically segregated region in the country thanks in large part to the rapidly rising housing costs in Ann Arbor, and their refusal to build […]

  12. […] equitable direction. Specifically, I’m interested to know what you make of the fact, in spite our region recently being named the 8th most economically segregated region in the county, and the repeated warnings of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development […]

  13. […] reading it, you’ll come back here and join us in a conversation about the role U-M plays in regional economic segregation, and these recent efforts on the part of the University to steer things back in the direction of […]

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