NPR Report Examines Wealth Divide In Fairfield County

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Fairfield County has the largest income gap in the U.S., an NPR/Global Post report says. Photo Credit: Screenshot from NPR.com

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — The sharp contrast between the cities of Greenwich and Bridgeport are highlighted in an NPR/Global Post report on worldwide wealth and poverty

"Welcome to Fairfield County, Conn., the wealthiest metropolitan area in the country, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis, but also among the most unequal in terms in income distribution," says the story, which compares the high-end shops of Greenwich Avenue with frequent gun violence in Bridgeport about 25 miles away. 

You can see the rest of the story, "Two Sides of a Deep Economic Divide," here

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Comments (7)

lwitherspoon:

Hey Paige

Thanks for your thoughtful commment.

Regarding the "W" towns plus Darien and New Canaan, I don't think people move there primarily for taxes. It's the schools. And before anyone claims that the schools are better in those towns because the schools have more money, they should check per-pupil spending in those towns compared to Norwalk. Mayor Moccia pointed out a while back that on a per-pupil basis, Norwalk spends just as much as Wilton.

Reasonable people can disagree on whether or not South Norwalk was a success story, but I think there's no disputing that Washington Street became a go-to place for nightlife. I remember hearing at one point that young people were driving to Norwalk from Stamford for the nightlife. Now you have upper income people who like the idea of living in some of the upscale new buildings near Washington Street. All of that is undoubtedly good for Norwalk.

Is that video about the project available somewhere online?

john.real.965:

One of the biggest economic gaps in the country is in one of the most liberal states. Go figure. I thought liberalism and progressivism were all about equality and wealth distribution. Can we all finally accept that there are people who are intrinsically lazy and don't care about improving themselves. And making those people very comfortable in their lifestyles (joblessness, drugs, unwed/single mothers) will only make matters worse. I know of single mothers who want to have more babies so they can get even more money from the government. More babies = more free money. Well, at least those babies will one day become PhDs, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, right? Not!

Blabbermouth68:

Urban problems are demographic, not primarily economic.

lwitherspoon:

Can you expand on what you mean by that?

Blabbermouth68:

I did expand on that. I listed the demographic populations in Bridgeport, and some of the social pathologies associated with those populations. It was strictly statements of facts, with no name calling. It was deleted. So much for the "Daily Voice"--more properly described as the censored, politically correct "Voice"

lwitherspoon:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Sadly, the article is fairly simplistic. We're all aware that there are wealthy towns near poor towns, all across the country. Also, the article fails to mention any revitalization attempts in Bridgeport and as such it perpetuates the negative mental image that hinders those revitalization attempts. A more interesting article would explore the factors that weigh on Bridgeport and look at what other areas have done to overcome those challenges.

It's interesting that some of the article's commentary refers to South Norwalk as an urban renewal success story. South Norwalk certainly is that, but it's also true that there's a well-established pattern of young Norwalk families with financial means opting to move from Norwalk to New Canaan, Westport, Wilton, Ridgefield etc. as soon as their children reach school age. As long as that pattern exists, Norwalk will struggle. I don't know the answer to solving that problem but I know that it goes well beyond throwing money at schools.

Paige:

Two quick points, Spoon. First of all, the mill rates in the W's along with Darien and New Canaan are usually lower than Norwalk and that is because they don't have to support the type of infrastructure Norwalk does. They don't have to provide the level of services that Norwalk provides to its residents.

Secondly, I have some serious questions about South Norwalk being a "success story". Back in the day when Bill Collins was Mayor, they "revitalized" Washington Street. What it basically did was move out all the lower income families and created a "trendy" neighborhood. Someone from Village Creek actually made a video of the whole project and how it turned out or how it failed to meet expectations.

Then the huge wasteland just south of 95 on West Avenue used to be....wait for it...used to be a whole neighborhood of Dutch Colonials that were two and three family residences. There were people who lived there for generations. And one day....badda boom, they were informed that was the Reed Putnam development and the whole thing got taken by eminent domain. Some of those families testified much later when the eminent domain issue came up by Loehman's Plaza that they had to move up to New Haven or further because they couldn't find anyplace affordable in Fairfield County. And of course, now we have all those great stores and apartments there....oh, wait...

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