Economy Now

Instant reaction and smart charts on economic trends.

Housing inequality: The tale of two communities

February 28, 2014: 6:00 AM ET

Nowhere is the divide between rich and poor more apparent than in the backyard.

Home values in the top 10% wealthiest communities are worth more than six times that in the bottom 40%, a new survey has found.

Put another way, these rich communities hold nearly 52% of housing wealth, compared to only 8% owned by the lower rungs, according to The Demand Institute, which assessed 2,200 largest communities across the nation. The institute, which is operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen, looked at total market value of owner-occupied housing in these cities, towns and villages, which are home to half of the nation's residents.


Institute researchers were surprised by the depth of the divide that exists among communities in the U.S.

"You see a real concentration of wealth in a few places," said Louise Keely, the institute's chief research officer.

Wealthier communities have also weathered the housing collapse better. The total home value of this group rose 73% between 2000 and 2012, compared to 59% for the bottom rungs.


The institute identified what it called Affluent Metroburbs, which are established, wealthy communities near big cities. These include Pinecrest, Fla., Madison, N.J. and Laguna Hills, Calif.

It also designated other locales as Endangered Communities, which are truly distressed areas with weak housing markets and severe socioeconomic problems. These include Decatur, Ill., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and Gainesville, Texas.

For more information on the nine different community profiles and specific information on the cities within them, check out the institute's report.

  • Viral video shows how wealth is really distributed

    Think you know how wealth is distributed in America? Think again.

    A YouTube video that's gone viral recently shows that our perceptions of who has money and how much they have is quite skewed. The poor and middle class have a lot less than most people think, while the rich have a lot more. And the Top 1% are off the charts.

    The video, which has been viewed more than 3.8 million MORE

    - Mar 8, 2013 8:06 AM ET
  • Leisure inequality: Who's bumming around more?

    Sure, the wealthy earn more money...but they work a lot harder for it.

    So says a new study that found that while the income gap between the rich and poor has grown since the 1980s, the leisure divide has widened too.

    Highly educated men, who generally have higher incomes, had only 33.2 hours of leisure time a week by 2007, down 1.2 hours from 1985, according to the three National Bureau of Economic MORE

    - May 2, 2012 9:23 AM ET
  • When in Boston, order the frozen lasagna

    If you've ever been out at a restaurant and have been surprised to see an additional meals tax tacked on to the bill, you are not alone. The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group, just put out a report about the absurdity and complexity (two words never associated with taxes, right?) of some of these local levies.

    Among the key findings: Chicago, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Seattle, Denver and Washington D.C. are among MORE

    - Mar 2, 2012 10:57 AM ET
    Posted in: , ,
  • 650 million escape extreme poverty. Thanks China!

    Extreme poverty in the developing world is on the decline, according to estimates released by the World Bank. And you can thank China's powerhouse economy for most of it.

    Nearly 650 million people escaped extreme poverty -- living on less than $1.25 a day -- between 1981  and 2008, according to the World Bank's survey. That poverty line is the average for the world's poorest 10 to 20 countries.

    The  numbers have MORE

    - Mar 1, 2012 5:54 PM ET
    Posted in: , ,
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.33%4.30%
15 yr fixed3.75%3.72%
5/1 ARM4.08%4.08%
30 yr refi4.28%4.28%
15 yr refi3.72%3.69%
Rate data provided
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
Economic Calendar
Latest ReportNext Update
Home pricesAug 28
Consumer confidenceAug 28
GDPAug 29
Manufacturing (ISM)Sept 4
JobsSept 7
Inflation (CPI)Sept 14
Retail sales Sept 14
Powered by VIP.