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NEW YORK CITY:  Income inequality on the subway lines

We know that U.S. cities, like their counterparts around the world, have become more socioeconomically unequal in recent years. The New Yorker magazine recently reported on a fascinating way to document how this inequality is constituted spatially:  look at median household incomes for neighborhoods along the city’s subway lines. You can do it yourself by clicking on one of the lines and analyzing the subsequent graph and map. I show the income distribution along three lines above — the #1, #4, and #7 lines — to show this trend. The income figures are drawn from the U.S.. Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey. Here are some highlights:

  • $205,192—The highest median household income of any census tract the subway has a station in (for Chambers Street, Park Place, and World Trade Center, all in Lower Manhattan).
  • $12,288—The lowest median household income (Sutter Avenue, on the L in Brooklyn).
  • $191,442—The largest range in median household income on a single subway line (for the 2, which includes Chambers Street/Park Place, in Lower Manhattan, on the high end, and East 180th Street, in the Bronx, on the low end).
  • $84,837—The smallest range in median household income on a single subway line (for the G, the only non-shuttle subway line that doesn’t pass through Manhattan).
  • $142,265—The largest gap in median household income between two consecutive subway stations on the same line (between Fulton Street and Chambers Street on the A and the C lines, in Lower Manhattan).

Take a ride in the inequality express! For more on urban and regional issues, see Urban Geographies: Cities of People, Places, and Projects.