Today’s urban reality as seen by the Brookings Institution: “Poverty rates are on the rise in both cities and suburbs, with more poor people now living in suburbs than in cities. The Midwest continues to bear the brunt of America’s manufacturing job loss. And the very emblem of the American Dream, the middle-class neighborhood, is shrinking as the costs of daily necessities for working families continues to rise.”

You can read the Brookings’s year in review in either bullet point or narrative forms, complete with links to the relevant studies. A couple of details that surprised me:

Middle-income neighborhoods as a proportion of all metropolitan neighborhoods declined from 58 percent in 1970 to 41 percent in 2000. This dramatic decline far outpaced the corresponding drop in the proportion of metropolitan families earning middle incomes, from 28 percent in 1970 to 22 percent in 2000.”

Whatever their other merits, “mixed-income developments” appear to be swimming against the tide:  “Between 1970 and 2000, lower-income families became more likely to live in lower-income neighborhoods, and higher-income families in higher-income neighborhoods. Only 37 percent of lower-income families lived in middle-income neighborhoods in 2000, down from 55 percent in 1970.”

How does this square with your experience?