The U.S. economy right now is a pretty mixed bag: On Tuesday, the White House released a reassuring economic report that says the overall U.S. economy has rebounded strongly since the Great Recession, and that it’s still on the rise. But the report also acknowledged that rising wealth and income disparities urgently need to be addressed.
A new report by the Economic Innovation Group, a nonprofit focused on researching and advocating on America’s economic challenges, confirms this duality. The report looks at how the nation’s poorest communities have fared during the recovery and it finds that for these places, the recovery is a distant phenomenon, something taking place far away. Wealthy communities, by contrast, have been booming.
EIG’s analysis examined economic conditions in 25,000 zip codes and mapped them onto their Distressed Communities Index. Seven factors were used to determine whether a community is distressed: the number of adults without high-school degrees, the prevalence of vacant houses, the number of adults not working, the poverty rate, how the medium income measures up against the state’s median, and whether business and job opportunities were disappearing. Taken together, this offers a more comprehensive view of an area’s economic health than evaluating just one of those factors.