Even after adjusting for income, left-leaning metros tend to have worse income inequality and less affordable housing: Oct. 29, 2014 Atlantic

I much enjoy reading about evidence-based research, which occasionally gives rise to conclusions that may appear counterintuitive.

An Oct. 29, 2014 Atlantic article is of interest, in this regard. The article is entitled: “Why Middle-Class Americans Can’t Afford to Live in Liberal Cities: Blue America has a problem: Even after adjusting for income, left-leaning metros tend to have worse income inequality and less affordable housing.”

The article concludes:

  • One could attempt tying this together into a pat story—Rich liberals prefer to cluster near historic coastal communities with high home values, where they support high taxes, rent control, and a maze of housing regulations to protect both their investment and the region’s “character”, altogether discouraging new housing development that’s already naturally constrained by geography…—but even that interpretation elides the colorful local history that often shapes housing politics.
  • I asked Kahn if he had a pet theory for why liberals, who tend to be vocal about income inequality, would be more averse to new housing development, which would help lower-income families. He suggested that it could be the result of good intentions gone bad.
  • “Developers pursue their own self-interest,” Kahn said. “If a developer has an acre, and he thinks it should be a shopping mall, he won’t think about neighborhood charm, or historic continuity. Liberals might say that the developer acting in his own self-interest ignores certain externalities, and they’ll apply restrictions. But these restrictions [e.g. historic preservation, environmental preservation, and height ceilings] add up, across a city, even if they’re well-intentioned. The affordability issue will rear its head.”

[End of excerpt]

One’s neighbourhood extends beyond local boundaries

One’s local neighbourhood, wherever it may be, with whatever level of equality, and whatever its stance on historical preservation, is situated within the larger universe.

This thought occurs to me after viewing the video at a Nov. 3, 2014 CNET post entitled: “‘We are made of star stuff’: A quick lesson on how: Carl Sagan famously said that the death of ancient stars helped to create us. Huh? Here’s a quick primer on what he meant.”

An earlier post also deals with demographics:

David Hulchanski’s “Three Cities Within Toronto” map closely matches the Oct. 27, 2014 ward by ward mayoral election results

New Jersey Dreaming: Capital, Culture, and the Class of ’58 (2005)

Sherry B. Ortner (2005) also discusses topics related to demographics, success, idealism, political action, equality, and power; her work is of much interest.

Known for her work regarding the Sherpas of Nepal, Sherry Ortner presents research, in her study of a 1950s New Jersey high school, in an easy to read format, with a focus on the role of class in American society.


A Nov. 5, 2014 Forbes article is entitled: “Who’s To Blame For The Increasing Gap Between The Rich And The Poor? Market Policies, Says New Report.”

A Nov. 7, 2014 Foreign Policy article is entitled: “The Free Market Did Not Bring Down the Berlin Wall: The United States has misinterpreted the end of Communism for a quarter of a century. It’s time to set the record straight.”

A March/April 2014 Mother Jones article is entitled: “What If Everything You Knew About Poverty Was Wrong?”

A Dec. 7, 2014 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Toronto is divided, but not as badly as other major cities.” The subhead reads: “All North American cities are splintering, but the causes relate to a broader economy that municipal governments have little power to change.”

A Dec. 8, 2014 Toronto Star articleis entitled: “A tale of income inequality in five Toronto neighbourhoods: We use U of T professor David Hulchanski’s research to take a close look at changes in recent decades in five Toronto neighbourhoods.”

A Dec. 23, 2014 New York Times article is entitled: “A Brand New World In Which Men Ruled: Instead of narrowing gender gaps, the technology industry created vast new ones for Stanford University’s pioneering class of 1994.”

A Sept. 30, 2015 New York Times editorial is entitled: “Slipping Backward in Nepal.”

A Jan. 29, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “Was there ever a time when so few people controlled so much wealth?”

The following post adds background to the discussion:

Voter anger explained – in one chart – March 15, 2016 Brookings Institution article

A June 19, 2017 Aeon article is entitled: “The bloodstained leveller: Throughout history, plagues and wars have left greater equality in their wake. Can we get there again without violence?”


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