Study: Residential segregation halts social mobility

Residential segregation in Albany area. / Jessica Fairley

A new study conducted by Stanford University and released by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University reveals a wider division of residential segregation.

Middle class housing areas are shrinking while poor and rich neighborhoods are growing.

The once dominating middle class has divided into two categories, the more affluent and those who are not.

Although local officials say they haven't researched the study to know how it affects southwest Georgia, they say the information provided does seem to mimic the trends going on in the area.

"There was extensive growth in the northwest of about 2,500 people, while we saw reduction in the central parts of the city," said Albany Assistant City Manager Wes Smith.

He says the east side, which some consider as the poor part of town, saw little change.

The study shows neighborhood segregation may halt social mobility.

Those in more affluent areas may have better schools and job opportunities than some living in impoverished areas.

"I see a lot of people trying to search and look for schools. They look for what kind of advantages would be for them," said Brown & Brown Real Estate Group Broker Becky Brown.

Brown says because of the current economic climate, it's not as easy for people with a low income to get the loan they need to relocate.

"People who are qualifying are normally qualifying for $120, $140, and $160 thousand and above. Those are the people that are buying the homes and living them," explained Brown.

This leaves expensive homes to be purchased by the wealthy, and the cheaper homes to be purchased by investors who in turn rent them out in low income neighborhoods for high prices, thus widening the gap among the classes.

To review the entire study follow the link.

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