AUSTIN, Texas – Austin, the state capital of Texas, is the most economically segregated city in the United States, according to a report by the University of Toronto.
The document released Tuesday places San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, the other three big cities in Texas, among the 10 most socially segregated cities in the country.
The study, conducted by Richard Florida and Charlotta Mellander of the university’s Martin Prosperity Institute, compares social segregation across the 350 most-populated cities of the U.S. on the basis of income, education and occupation.
Austin was found to have the least probability of the rich and working classes living together, according to the report.
The Texas capital was followed by Columbus, Ohio; San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, California; New York City, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Chicago, Illinois, and Memphis, Tennessee.
Among the least segregated cities are Orlando, Florida; Portland, Oregon; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Providence, Rhode Island, and Virginia Beach, Virginia.
“It is not just that the economic divide in America has grown wider; it’s that the rich and poor effectively occupy different worlds, even when they live in the same cities and metros,” Florida and Mellander said in the report.
“It is not so much the size of the gap between the rich and poor that drives segregation as the ability of the super-wealthy to isolate and wall themselves off from the less well-to-do,” they added.
In this sense, the researchers concluded that the wealthiest families, with an income of over $200,000 per year, were more segregated from the rest of the people living in poverty.
The report also said that people with university degrees were more isolated than those who did not, and that the creative class – people from liberal professions and the technological sector – are also more segregated than the working class.
“While there have always been affluent neighborhoods like Newport, East Hampton, Palm Beach, Beverly Hills, and Grosse Pointe, the people who cut the lawns, cooked and served the meals, and fixed the plumbing in their big houses used to live nearby. That is less and less the case today,” says the report.