Monday, October 8, 2018

Nashville's middle class in growing and Nashville's income inequality is actually lessening.

In an article published in the Tennessean on Sunday it is reported that contrary to what many believe, 

new census data shows that the city’s income inequality is actually lessening in Nashville. Nashville’s economic growth attracts both higher-paying jobs and rising wages in low-skilled sectors. According to census data, the middle class has been growing in the greater 14-county Nashville metro area.

According to Alan Berube, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, “Nashville stood out among larger Metro areas of having a larger than average middle class. The kinds of industries that have been growing — they pay better than they did before. There seems to be an engine of prosperity in Nashville that’s helping pull the income distribution to the right."

Here is an excerpt from the article:
In 2017, 63.2 percent of the metro area’s households were in the broad middle class, defined as having incomes between $23,000 and $113,000, according to the Brookings analysis of Census data. That’s up from 61.6 percent in 2000.

It represents the seventh-fastest middle-class growth among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. Meanwhile, the share of households in the low-income category dropped.
This is good news. As one sees the change taking place and the loss of small 1950-style brick homes replaced by more expensive larger homes, one may just assume that this signifies a change for the worse for those who cannot afford those new homes. However, one needs to keep in mind that many can afford those new homes. Incomes are increasing.  Those homes are affordable for most people in Nashville.

The article does not delve into who is living where. When one says "Nashville" in a news report they are not usually referring to the urban area of Nashville or even Davidson County but a 14-county area that is the Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area. That includes Watertown and Burns as well as Franklin and Brentwood. There obviouosly are pockets of less wealthy and more wealthy which result in the average.  In any event, this is good news. The gap between the poor and the rich is getting smaller in Nashville, not larger.

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