Newspaper article The Florida Times Union


Newspaper article The Florida Times Union


Article excerpt

In the early 1980s, Arlington was the epitome of a middle-class neighborhood.

Families of diverse incomes were drawn to its attractive subdivisions, quality schools and thriving business corridors.

A decade later, it had begun to change.

The gap between Arlington's higher- and lower-income residents was widening.

The Brookings Institution's report, "Where Did They Go? The Decline of Middle-Income Neighborhoods in Metropolitan America," shows many cities across the country experienced similar economic gaps, especially those near urban areas.

In Arlington's case, the catalysts included dwindling apartment occupancies, which led to an influx of low-income housing.

By the 1990s, wealthier residents were living blocks away from those struggling to keep a roof above their heads and food on the table.

And with less disposable income available, retail and service-oriented businesses began closing.

Across the country, middle-class neighborhood character has been lost as both higher and lower income families have increasingly gravitated toward those with similar incomes, the Brookings study found.

Researchers used census data from 1970 to 2000 for the study.

Of the 100 metropolitan areas analyzed, Jacksonville ranked 26th in its family middle-income share.

At 23 percent, Jacksonville families had a smaller middle-income share than the leading area, Minneapolis-St. Paul at 26.4 percent, and more than last ranked New York at 16.2 percent.

Jacksonville's share of middle-income neighborhoods ranked even better, with 51.3 percent middle-income share, making it 17th overall.

Though Jacksonville is at the top of communities with middle-income families and neighborhoods, it is not without red flags.

San Marco, Avondale and Mandarin are among the established neighborhoods with real estate prices that have increased too high for middle-class homeowners. …

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